BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — The FBI and Bristol police are working together to investigate photos and learn if a crime was committed during a “Keep Connecticut White” rally.
In the meantime, community leaders are speaking out against hate.
“Hate crimes not only cause direct harm, but they are also threatening the very principles upon which our nation was founded,” said Corrie Betts, the president of the Great Hartford NAACP.
Betts was “deeply troubled” by the rally, where a dozen people with masks and torches were seen standing under the “Keep Connecticut White” banner earlier this month on Route 72 in Bristol.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said the incident is part of an increase in hate incidents in North Haven, Hamden, New Haven, and Rocky Hill. She said there have been more than 207 incidents involving white supremacists in Connecticut since 2022.
Rocky Hill created a commission on inclusion and innovation to combat racism after the town’s own experiences with hate messages.
“I know that there have been instances like this around Connecticut, and I’m not sure how they pick which town, but they have picked the wrong town, because Rocky Hill is not going to have it,” said Tim Sullivan, the superintendent of CREC Schools.
Police are still investigating those materials, which were strewn across lawns, sidewalks, and driveways. Officials are reviewing surveillance footage and speaking to witnesses to uncover what car was throwing the flyers out the window.
Bysiewicz said the state created a hate crimes unit to keep track of all the instances.
Valerie Triblets, with the Rocky Hill Congregational Church, urges others to speak out.
“If you don’t say something, you’re actually condoning it, and I think it’s natural for people to be like ‘That is not us, that’s not this town,’ but really, racism is everywhere,” she said.