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Sound Bites: Racist flyers roils Rocky Hill

CT 99 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
JJBers Public
Wikimedia Commons
CT 99 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Good morning. Rocky Hill is the latest Connecticut town to unite against white supremacist hate speech and propaganda distributed on residents’ cars and doorsteps. 

On April 13, flyers displaying messages, “Black Crimes Matter” and “Protect White Communities”, were found all over the town. The propaganda invites residents to join a Neo-Nazi group. The flyers were allegedly made by the New England Nationalist Social Club or the Neo-Nazi group NSC-131, according to authorities.

To unite the community against hate, Rocky Hill’s Congregational Church decried falsehoods that criminal behavior is connected to race. The Rocky Hill Commission on Inclusion and Innovation offered a space for community members to reflect on the recent rise in hate crimes. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Police using passively recorded body camera footage would be inappropriate, according to Middlesex County State’s Attorney’s Office. The opinion is in response to criminal charges against former Old Saybrook Police Officer Joshua Zarbo who was accused of using police resources to get personal information on a civilian. Prosecutors determined that since body cameras record footage even when officers don’t activate the camera, the video may infringe on officers' privacy.

The FBI met with State Capitol Police after several Connecticut lawmakers were threatened. Lawmakers have been harassed more through emails and phone calls since 2022. They have introduced a bill that would form a group to report and enforce abusive messages state and municipal elected officials receive on social media platforms.

A Connecticut commissioner will be deposed as part of an emotional support animal case. Judge Walter Spader approved the deposition of Tanya Hughes, executive director of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The case in question alleges that Branford landlord Randy Poxson violated state law by refusing to rent an apartment to Diane DeVito. A lease agreement was reversed after DeVito revealed she required an emotional support dog. Hughes was deposed after Spader determined she’s not relevant for this case.

Bridgeport’s police department has started to partner officers with social workers. City Council President Aidee Nieves co-created this plan in order for municipal social workers to help “non-violent, non-criminal” psychiatric calls where police are less suitable to handle. Bridgeport received 650 non-violent psychiatric calls for service in 2022.

A retired professor won a discrimination case against Hofstra University. In 2020, Arthur Dobrin was denied a request to teach remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and was forced to teach in-person. 80-year-old Dobrin claimed the university discriminated against him due to his age and medical disability, failing to provide the professor accommodations for his health.

Construction on two new terminals at JFK Airport has begun. The airport invested nearly $19 billion to replace outdated 50-year-old terminals with upgrades anchoring the north/south sides and expanding to Terminal 4. Construction of JFK’s new Terminals 1 and 2 are expected to be complete by 2026. Passengers may experience some difficulty boarding planes for the next few years.

The seating area at New Haven’s Union Station reopened after clearing out bed bugs. Doug Hausladen, the parking authority's executive director, told reporters that the authority quickly cleaned the area and will increase the frequency of cleaning in the station until August. Bed bugs don’t spread diseases, but can cause skin rashes on humans.

New York’s state university system will not see a tuition increase. The proposal was dismissed by the state Legislature during the budget process. However, out-of-state SUNY students may have their tuition increased if an agreement is pushed through. The tuition hike would help the universities receive operating aid to improve facilities.

A 23-year-old Medford resident was arrested for driving with 65 license suspensions. Suffolk County Police arrested Janelda Camille driving 95 miles per hour eastbound on Sunrise Highway. Camille was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and could face jail time if she fails to answer her court summons.

Yale University will award its first Black student a posthumous degree.  Reverend James W.C. Pennington will receive a Master of Arts Privatim degree this fall. A former Maryland slave, Pennington first attended Yale in the 1830s but due to racist barriers for the time, he was denied his degree. Pennington would go on to become a scholar of pan-Africanism, writing an autobiography, The Fugitive Blacksmith in 1849 and the first African American history textbook, The Origin and History of the Colored People in 1841.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.