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Politics

N.H. Attorney General Says No Charges Against Hate Group That Attacked State Lawmaker

photo of Jan. 6th insurrection at U.S. Capitol

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office will not pursue charges against members of a white supremacist group who targeted a state representative from Nashua in an online racist attack.

The threats against Rep. Manny Espitia came in May after he noted racist and anti-Semitic graffiti left by the group, NSC-131, in Nashua.

The graffiti included phrases like “Keep New England White” and “Death To Israel.” Espitia posted online images of the racist phrases, which he said were left in a Latino neighborhood in Nashua. Espitia at the time said the graffiti was an example of racism that exists in New Hampshire.

According to screen shots on social media, NSC-131 responded by posting: “Anyone with a name like, ‘Manny Espitia,’ State Rep or not, has no moral right to throw shade at any true (White) Nationalist New Hampshirite. You have no right to be here, you’re an occupier here, and the days of these types trampling on New England are coming to an end.”

The state’s Civil Rights Unit with the Department of justice looked into the incident, but in a letter issued Tuesday, Attorney General John Formella said his office found insufficient evidence to criminally charge or bring a civil lawsuit against the group.

Formella said although the statement against Espitia was offensive and hateful, there was no evidence of a direct threat, which would trigger a violation of the state Civil Rights Act.

“The statement made by the poster does not directly threaten bodily injury nor was it a threat to commit any other crime,” Formella wrote. “As a result, the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a violation of (state law) occurred.”

Espitia did not respond to a request for comment on the attorney general’s letter Tuesday evening.

The NSC, the group behind the racist messages in Nashua, “espouses racism, antisemitism and intolerance via the Internet, propaganda distributions and the use of graffiti,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. The NSC first emerged in late 2019, and is active in New England as well as in France, Hungary and Germany. In March, the group announced via social media that it would only recognize chapters within New England states.

“They see themselves as these soldiers at war with this hostile Jewish controlled system that’s plotting against the white race,” said Carla Hill, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. “So they are standing up for the white race, and their turf, so to speak, New England."

Hill says the group likely has just a few dozen members at most, with its core group of supporters in eastern Massachusetts.

Along with spray-painted messages, the group has staged small rallies across the region since forming, including a display at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston in May.

It isn’t clear how many members of the group may live in New Hampshire.