For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Joint Statement from the Arlington Police Department and Arlington Human Rights Commission Regarding Hate Incidents
ARLINGTON — The following is a joint statement from the Arlington Police Department and the Arlington Human Rights Commission regarding recent hate incidents throughout the U.S. and in town:
“The Arlington Police Department (APD) and the Arlington Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are concerned about the increase in hate incidents and intolerance around the country and here in our town.
“During 2016, there were 16 documented hate incidents in Arlington. These incidents included a resident falling victim to a nationwide hack that resulted in the resident’s printer producing white supremacist propaganda, a threatening leaflet in a Jewish family’s mailbox, a swastika spray-painted on a family’s garage, a Confederate battle flag displayed outside a resident’s home, racial epithets yelled out on a school bus at the Ottoson Middle School, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti found in the schools, and repeated vandalism of Black Lives Matter signs at local churches.
“It is with increasing concern that we report that in less than two months, five hate incidents affecting members of our community have been reported in 2017. These include anti-gay graffiti on a local Dunkin’ Donuts, swastikas spray-painted on buildings along the Minuteman Bikeway, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti at Arlington High School, a swastika painted on a private home and a swastika mailed directly to a resident’s home.
“These hateful acts do not reflect Arlington’s values and will not be tolerated in our town. The AHRC and APD strongly support the constitutional rights of free expression, freedom from intimidation, and equal protection for all people. Hate incidents violate those basic precepts by trying to intimidate members of our diverse population and prevent them from enjoying full participation in civic life.
“Our police department is wholly dedicated to the safety and security of all people, and our town services and agencies are committed to fostering not only a tolerant spirit, but an educated and enlightened one as well. Arlington Police and the Human Rights Commission work closely with each other to investigate and resolve hate incidents. We pursue healing and understanding while promising to seek out, identify, and hold those who commit harmful acts responsible.
“The APD and AHRC are committed to creating an atmosphere where everyone in Arlington feels safe and supported. All of us function best when living without fear of violence, discrimination, exclusion, or humiliation. Our children, families, businesses and the community as a whole are affected by hateful acts against anyone based on race, color, religious views, national origin, sex, gender identity, citizenship, age, ancestry, family/marital status, sexual orientation, disability, source of income, or military status.
The Arlington Human Rights Commission works to continuously educate the Arlington community through programs that increase mutual respect and the appreciation of diversity. AHRC will host a Trust Act information session at Town Hall on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. Town officials, including a representative from APD, will provide legal, financial, and law enforcement information regarding the Trust Act warrant article that has been submitted for this year’s Town Meeting.
“We are asking for your help in ensuring that all individuals who live, attend school, work, visit, shop, or receive services in Arlington feel welcome and protected here. If you know of an act of discrimination, intimidation, or other hate crime, please report it to APD (781-643-1212) and/or AHRC (781-316-3250, [email protected]). The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has also set up a hotline for reporting bias-motivated harassment or threats (1-800-994-3228).”