Statement on the Bias Crime Committed in Newtown

Statement on the Bias Crime Committed in Newtown

Unfortunately, a bias-related destruction of property incident occurred Thursday in Sandy Hook. Fortunately, eyewitnesses were able to provide our Newtown Police with enough information to make an arrest.  I speak for the Town by strongly condemning this action, antisemitism in any form, the destruction of property and attempt to silence the protected free speech of individuals. 

The Jewish members of Newtown are a valued and important segment of our community.  Many of our most notable leaders have been Jewish. For example, our former State Representative Julia Wasserman narrowly eluded the Nazis' murderous 1938 Kristallnacht before coming to Connecticut and serving with distinction.  We would not be the town we are today without the contributions of our Jewish residents and I am profoundly grateful for each of them. 

Newtown is a community that welcomes people, regardless of religion or race.  It is how we respond to these instances that define us as a community, not the actions of any one individual.

By flying a flag or having a sign on one's private property we exercise free speech protected by the First Amendment. Be it an American, Ukrainian or an Israeli flag, a lawn sign that is political or the school of choice for a child’s higher education – the list is long.  As Americans, we have the right to express our views and preferences, but we do not have the right to silence or intimidate others. 

The Newtown Police Department at their joint presentation with the Department of Justice regarding hate crimes encouraged the reporting of instances of bias including anti-Semitic activity.  Even if this information is in-actionable, it can inform future investigations.  In this case our police were able to arrest a suspect based upon eyewitness testimony.

My thanks go out to the members of The Newtown Police Department for their prompt investigation and arrest in this emotionally charged case, and a special thanks to the members of the community who provided the information necessary to apprehend the suspect.

A. Jeffrey Capeci

First Selectmam

Submitted by Newtown, CT

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