The lawsuit claims that Patriot Front members targeted the young Black teacher in a “coordinated” assault.
An African-American man from Boston who claims he was assaulted by neo-Nazis has filed a lawsuit against a white supremacist organization, saying that he intends to bankrupt it.
According to The Associated Press, the complaint was filed on behalf of Charles Murrell III, a black teacher and musician.
In his lawsuit, Murrell says that he was playing his saxophone near the Boston Public Library on July 2, 2022, when he was surrounded by members of the Patriot Front, who allegedly assaulted him in a “coordinated, brutal, and racially motivated attack.”
No one has been charged in connection with the assault, and an investigation into the crime remains open.
Murrell, writes The Associated Press, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated for a number of lacerations, some of which required stitches.
“As a result of this beating, Mr. Murrell sustained physical injuries to his face, head, and hand, all of which required medical attention. Mr. Murrell also continues to suffer significant emotional distress to this day as a result of the incident,” the lawsuit claims. “Among other harms, those physical and emotional injuries have adversely affected Mr. Murrell’s ability to earn a living as a musician.”
Murrell, his attorneys say, has “been plagued by severe anxiety, mental anguish, invasive thoughts, and emotional distress, including, but not limited to, persistent concern for his physical safety and loss of sleep.”
The lawsuit states that the 36-year-old teacher “routinely has nightmare sand flashbacks.”
Jason Lee Van Dyke, an attorney who has represented the Patriot Front in other cases, has since told The Associated Press that Murrell “is not telling the truth.”
“I happen to have seen the raw video footage and it was clear that Charles Murrell was the aggressor and no one with Patriot Front did anything unlawful,” he said. “His assertion that he was beaten is factually incorrect.”
Murrell, for his part, says that his lawsuit seeks accountability, and that he hopes its successful resolution will not only assist in his own healing process but ensure that other people of color are not similarly victimized.
“Because I am a teacher, because I come from special education, I am filing this suit so that even if one of them has a safer sidewalk to walk on, the work that I am doing will have been very much worth it,” Murrell told The Associated Press in an interview.
“What happened to Mr. Murrell was no accident,” the lawsuit claims. “For years, Patriot Front […] has publicly and privately advocated for the use of violence against those who disagree with its express goal of creating an entirely ‘white’ United States.”
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages for Murrell’s physical, emotional, and financial injuries.