Chief Joseph O’Connor
219 Walden Street
P.O. Box 519
Concord, MA 01742
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Concord Police Investigate Utterance of Hate Speech Outside Local Restaurant Directed at Jewish Community
CONCORD – Chief Joseph O’Connor reports that the Concord Police Department has investigated a report of hate speech directed toward the Jewish community that was allegedly uttered by a patron outside a local restaurant.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, police received a report from a person who was at a restaurant on Elm Street at approximately 3 p.m. After leaving a Bar Mitzvah reception held at the restaurant, the reporting party noticed one man make derogatory comments about Jewish people to another man.
Through an investigation, Concord Police determined that the man who made the comments does not reside in the town. The Concord Police Department contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to review the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, and also informed the Anti-Defamation League of New England of the matter.
“We have been closely watching events across the country and find this incident deeply disturbing.” Chief O’Connor said. “There is no place for hate in our community, and we take every report seriously. I encourage anyone with any concerns about potentially hateful or discriminatory speech or actions to call the Concord Police Department immediately.”
Additionally, the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council was made aware of the situation and issued the following statement:
“The Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council applauds the actions of those who reported this incident and supports the swift response of the Concord Police Department to this act of bigotry. We ask that everyone be vigilant in opposing hate speech and that all citizens actively and proudly oppose intolerance in all its forms.”
Chief O’Connor also met with Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh of the Congregation Kerem Shalom, who released the following statement:
“Jewish tradition teaches us that words and human speech have the power to create and uplift as well as to tear down and destroy.
“We are cautioned to aspire to always use the gift of communication for good. The negative consequences of ‘Lashon Hara/evil speech’ often extend further than the speaker intends or imagines.
“While this particular incident of hate speech was thankfully only speech, we in the Jewish community see the tremendous destructive potential within it.
“We are so grateful to the Concord Police Department for responding quickly and with a great deal of sensitivity and compassion.”
“We urge all of the citizens of our community to remain vigilant against such destructive hateful speech and look forward to working in partnership with the entire community to ensure that all minority groups feel safe.”
The Concord Police Department encourages anyone that observes any act of hate to contact police immediately at 978-318-3400.