Men sentenced to community service after posting neo-Nazi flyers, obstructing police

PROVIDENCE — Two men who are accused of posting white nationalist recruiting flyers on utility poles have pleaded no contest to obstructing East Providence police.

The men, Stephen Farrea, 32, of Portsmouth, and Austin Conti, 26, of Warwick, made their pleas on Tuesday before Judge Joseph P. Ippolito Jr. in District Court, Providence.

Ippolito sentenced both men to serve 20 hours of community service.

The two men have ties to a group that experts refer to as a neo-Nazi organization.

In Municipal Court, East Providence, on Aug. 4, Farrea and Conti pleaded not guilty to violating city ordinances by posting flyers on utility poles.

Stephen Thomas Farrea, left, and Austin Conti are pictured at their arraignments in District Court.
Stephen Thomas Farrea, left, and Austin Conti are pictured at their arraignments in District Court.

Their trial, before Municipal Court Judge Lisette Gomes, is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.

A city ordinance prohibits the hanging of signs without approval from the city manager.

Farrea and Conti were posting flyers for the Nationalist Social Club 131 shortly before their arrest in late June, police say. They were among five men who had encountered East Providence police at the time and were trespassing on the property of the Gordon School, police wrote in their report.

During the exchange with police, the report states the two men told police they had fastened flyers to utility poles.

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At one point, it says, Conti represented himself as a spokesman.

Conti's tattoos include a circular marking on his elbow and tricep. The tattoo, which was visible in court in July, is a variant of a "Black Sun" symbol. It incorporates sig runs similar to those employed by the Nazi SS. It strongly resembles a neo-Nazi symbol that has been noted by the Anti-Defamation League.

Conti and Farrea declined to comment to The Providence Journal after their arraignment in early July.

The arrest of the two men preceded a wave of flyer activity by the Nationalist Social Club in Rhode Island over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Men who hung Neo-Nazi flyers in East Providence sentenced