NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ More than 100 people converged in New Bedford Thursday afternoon to demand Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s resignation.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Hastings Keith Federal Building chanting “no white supremacy” and “Sheriff Hodgson’s got to go.” Another 50 also joined them in a car caravan.
The demonstration was organized by the Bristol County for Correction Justice (BCCJ) and comes after Hodgson was seen wearing a Confederate-themed tie.
Hodgson has publicly denied any connection between his tie and the Confederacy.
“The back and forth I had started with Senator [Ed] Markey wrongly suggested I was wearing some Confederate attire,” Hodgson said. “It was actually a patriotic tie that I picked out because of the red, white and blue and it had no relationship whatsoever to any confederate thing.”
Protester Rafael Pizzaro said he has conducted research as to where Hodgson may have purchased the tie.
“That exact tie is on many white supremacist store websites,” Pizzaro said. “We have looked at more than one and it is the same exact tie that is being sold by these groups.”
But Lindsay Aldworth of the BCCJ said Hodgson’s association to white supremacy goes further than his choice of necktie.
“The issue isn’t just the tie,” Aldworth said.“Hodgson is a board member of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a white supremacist group. He’s a close associate of Stephen Miller, a White House major policy maker, with well-known white supremacist views and connections.”
Hodgson said demonstrations like these are misrepresenting what is really happening across the country.
“This is 2020, these people have been coming at us for years,” he said. “They misrepresent what’s really going on here, because they can’t really argue legitimately. We’re nationally credited, 100% back-to-back over six years.”
Following the demonstration, protesters marched to the corner of Union and County Streets, where Black Lives Matter protesters have been gathering over the past three weeks.