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Neo-Nazis that marched through Portland could have been charged, district attorney says

Possible assault and hate crime charges could have been filed if police had questioned the group and taken statements, the Cumberland Co. District Attorney said.

PORTLAND, Maine — Neo-Nazi members of Nationalist Social Club 131 could have been charged based on a fight that broke out when they marched to Portland City Hall Saturday, the Cumberland County District Attorney said.

The basis for the allegation comes from a video showing an NSC-131 member walking up behind a counter-protester, grabbing his sign, and punching him.

The man who was punched, who wished not to be named, said he wasn't shocked at being hit, but surprised NSC-131 members were emboldened enough to do it in front of police and city hall.

"It happened pretty fast, it's intense... I never interacted with those guys, and I did not talk to them," the counter-protester said.

Portland police said they tracked the neo-Nazis as they marched from the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center to Monument Square, and then to Portland City Hall.

Once they got to city hall and fought with counter-protesters, a police officer reportedly pulled out his gun and yelled at everyone to get down.

Shortly after, the neo-Nazis got up and walked away. 

Cumberland County District Attorney Jackie Sartoris said based on the assault and the threats made by NSC-131 members, a series of charges could have been presented.

"The neo-Nazis should have been questioned, there should have been an investigation, and I believed they should have been summonsed," Sartoris said. "It's very concerning what happened Saturday and I don't think that experience would happen again in the same way."

Sartoris said she met with Interim Portland Police Chief Heath Gorham to say what the options can be for questioning neo-Nazis next time.

Portland City Councilor Andrew Zarro said Monday's city council meeting will discuss the neo-Nazis and include a report on what happened Saturday when the march ended in violence.

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