Arlington man attacks alleged skinhead through window for stealing his girlfriend’s phone

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ARLINGTON – On Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at about 12:39 a.m., Officer Joseph Fimiani of the Arlington Police Department was dispatched to the apartment building located at 37 Drake Road following a report of a man yelling and striking the rear of the building with a large stick.

Officers Daniel Styffe, Brian Koslowsky, and Sergeant Brandon Wenz also responded to the scene.

(The account and quotations in this article were taken from Officer Fimiani’s printed Personnel Narrative for the incident.)

“Officers made visual contact with the defendant, Sean Nelson, who was observed holding a wooden stake approximately two feet in length in his hand yelling through a first-floor window into apartment #104 of 37 Drake Road,” Officer Fimiani said. “On the ground was a window screen and screen frame. Officers drew their duty pistols at the low ready and gave verbal commands to Nelson to drop the stake and get on the ground. Nelson complied with commands and was handcuffed by Officer Styffe using two sets of cuffs as Nelson is of bigger stature.”

According to police, Nelson, 41, is homeless and works as a delivery driver for Amazon.

Sean Nelson's mugshots from Arlington Massachusetts Police Department
Sean Nelson’s mugshots

Police brought Nelson to his feet and directed him to a nearby bench so he could take a seat. The officers then began questioning Nelson to obtain information about what transpired prior to their arrival.

“Nelson stated that he was upset that the resident of apartment #104, Donald O’Brien, had his girlfriend’s cell phone in his apartment and would not give it back,” Officer Fimiani said.

Nelson’s girlfriend, who police say was not involved in the altercation, lives a few floors above O’Brien in the same apartment building.

“Nelson stated that he was down there to retrieve her cell phone when an argument ensued,” Officer Fimiani explained. “Officers spoke to the victim, Donald O’Brien, who had a laceration under his left eye and cuts on his back. When officers asked the origin of the injury, O’Brien stated that Nelson was yelling and screaming outside of his window banging the wooden stake against the screen. O’Brien stated that Nelson had hit him through the screen window with the wooden stake in his face and body.”

Arlington Fire Rescue was called to the scene to evaluate O’Brien’s injures, but O’Brien turned down medical treatment by signing a patient refusal form following their arrival.

Nelson was placed under arrest for Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (for causing a laceration under O’Brien’s left eye and cutting his back with a two-foot-long wooden stake), and Malicious Destruction of Property -$1200 (for breaking the window screen and frame of apartment #104, which is property of the Arlington Housing Authority, and valued at about $250).

After he was booked at the police station, Nelson gave Officer Fimiani the following statement:

“Donald O’Brien is a self-proclaimed skinhead. He has told me that he has read Mein Kampf multiple times and has tattoos on his body reflecting his ideology. I have tried to get along with him in the past, I helped him clean his apartment earlier to pass Arlington Housing Authority inspection. I was down at O’Brien’s apartment earlier in the evening around 10 p.m. to ask for a cigarette for my girlfriend. O’Brien was sleeping when I went down there, he woke up and immediately began assaulting me by hitting me in the face. He called me a k$ke.”

Officer Fimiani said the day before he was arrested, on Sept. 7, 2023, the Arlington Police Department received a call for a well being check for Nelson.

“The reporting party stated that Nelson had been drinking and just left a liquor store,” Officer Fimiani explained. “The reporting party further stated that Nelson was making statements that he may harm himself.”

Police were unable to perform a well-being check on Nelson on Sept. 7 because they were unable to locate him.

Officer Fimiani said that during the booking process Nelson “appeared” to have had a few drinks, but he was not intoxicated, and when asked if he was suicidal during the standard booking questioning, Nelson said he wasn’t.

Officer Fimiani said that Nelson’s Board of Probation record had 28 entries in it including: Assault and Battery of a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Harassment, Disorderly Conduct, Operating Under the Influence, and Breaking & Entering.

His bail was set at $140.

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