Drop Felony Charges for BLM spray painting. Lewisboro Police Chief Alfano.

Drop Felony Charges for BLM spray painting. Lewisboro Police Chief Alfano.

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On July 2nd, the Lewisboro Police Department In Westchester County, NY notified the community that a local 17-year-old has been charged with felony criminal mischief for spray painting "Black Lives Matter" on various surfaces around the community. We, community members with a vested interest in promoting racial justice and a welcoming community, are demanding that all charges be dropped against the 17-year-old. 

Three years ago, the Lewisboro community was rocked by a legitimate hate crime when Swastikas, a symbol of anti-semitism, racism, homophobia, ableism, and eugenics-based genocide, were found spray painted on Lewisboro Elementary School. The minors found responsible were also charged with felony criminal mischief. We are dismayed to learn that the response to that hate crime was the same as the defacement that occurred in June 2020. I ask that the Lewisboro Police Department immediately drop these charges.

In a moment when Black communities and allies are being retraumatized by violence, I have seen an explosion of hate speech and online harassment in the form of veiled and blatant threats against marginalized members of our community, yet your department has remained silent. You also allowed Blue Lives Matter signs to remain in front of your police department for days. Blue Lives Matter is a direct antagonist response to and misappropriation of Black Lives Matter. The erection of these signs were attributed to ‘unknown citizens of the community.’ After an outpouring of concern from residents over the placement of these signs, the official response was to worry about potential hurt feelings should the signs be removed. There was no investigation into the defacement of police property, and those who placed the signs have not been charged.

While community members are preoccupied with the defacement of physical property, they refuse to meaningfully address the violence against and intimidation of Black, Indigenous, and non-Black people of color that occur in our towns and schools. This is painful to see. Instead, the Lewisboro Police Department has chosen to dedicate its considerable resources to investigate a minor.

Black Lives Matter is a commitment to equity and justice for all. Swastikas are symbols that promote hate and bigotry. Creating a precedent to treat these incidents with the same severity is dangerous and irresponsible.

I look forward to seeing the department take immediate action to drop these charges and issue a statement condemning the Blue Lives Matter signs.

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