HAVERHILL — A man police say was promoting white supremacist groups in two areas of the city has been arrested and charged with hate crimes.
Justin Milaszewski, 18, of 19 6th Ave., 2nd floor, on Monday was charged with property damage for the purpose of intimidation and destruction/defacement of a place of worship, both misdemeanors. He was also charged with defacing property, a misdemeanor, and assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony.
The charges are related to three separate incidents during the month of June: one at a flea market that showcased items sold by Black vendors and hosted by the Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices group, one at the Universalist Unitarian Church and the third downtown.
Milaszewski was arrested Monday morning at his home following the execution of a search warrant by Haverhill police, who were joined by the FBI and State Police.
At his arraignment Monday in Haverhill District Court, Judge Mary McCabe placed Milaszewski on full-time house arrest with GPS monitoring and ordered him to surrender all firearms. He is allowed to leave his home for medical appointments, per the judge, who also issued a 90-day warning, meaning if he is charged with an another offense while his case is pending, he could be ordered held for up to 90 days without bail. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24.
“He has no record,” his lawyer, Lee Graham, said after the arraignment. “Based on my reading of the police report, there’s no indication that he was involved in this.”
In the report, Detective Rick Welch wrote that police were informed Tuesday, June 29, of a June 27 incident at a flea market hosted by the Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices group on the boardwalk behind Harbor Place.
According to the police report, the organizer said stickers related to the Patriot Front, a white supremacist group whose members support racism and anti-Semitism, were being handed out by three men. One of the hallmarks of the Patriot Front is spreading propaganda by handing out stickers.
Using surveillance footage, police followed the movements of the three men to Central Plaza, where a similar sticker was later found. One of the men, later identified as Milaszewski, displayed a gun, placing a witness in fear, according to police.
That witness "went into Market Basket and made a purchase, then informed the employees that there were several armed males outside that belong to a white supremacist group in the parking lot, and said that they should be cautious and might want to call the police," according to the report.
Separate from the flea market incident, police were investigating a June 21 report of defacement at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Monument Square, where stickers promoting the Creativity Movement, another white supremacist group, and the Patriot Front were posted on the building and a lamp post across the street.
In Monday's search of Milaszewski's bedroom, police found a large flag emblazoned with the symbol of the the Creativity Movement that matched the stickers on the church, according to the report. They also found a black Colt replica handgun, determined to be a BB/pellet gun, and a money order receipt with the handwritten name of Thomas Rousseau, founder of the Patriot Front.
Police say during the search Milaszewski said, “One sticker and now I’m Hitler?”
He was arrested at his home following the execution of the search warrant.