Five Hoboken city councilmembers tonight called on Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to include a racist flyer from the 2017 mayoral campaign in a grand jury probe into a comparable mailer in Edison.
“While we are glad to see the Attorney General open an investigation into the despicable racist mailer that was distributed in Edison, it is incredibly disheartening that an eerily similar incident that happened here in Hoboken has not been given this level of scrutiny by law enforcement,” said Mike DeFusco, Jen Giattino, Tiffanie Fisher and Ruben Ramos.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla also called for the Hoboken incident to be added to the investigation into Edison.
“Anyone responsible for this heinous act should be brought to justice, and I fully support any and all further investigations to hold those people accountable,” Bhalla said.
In Hoboken, the literature targeted then-mayoral candidate Bhalla, a Sikh American wearing a turban, saying, “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.”
It included a disclaimer that it was “Paid for by Team DeFusco for Hoboken,” in a deliberate attempt to blame Bhalla’s opponent, DeFusco. DeFusco denounced the flyer and there is no evidence that his campaign was involved.
“The impact that this racist filth had on our community is no less than what the residents of Edison were subjected to, and Hoboken residents deserve the same kind of action from law enforcement,” DeFusco, Giattino, Fisher and Ramos said. “As members of the Hoboken City Council, we are hereby calling on Attorney General Grewal to broaden his investigation to include the Hoboken racist flier incident and we stand ready to offer our full cooperation towards finally bringing justice and closure to our city.”
Bhalla said that the incident was tough for his family.
“I’ll never forget having to explain to my young children why their dad was called a terrorist – something they should never have to experience again,” the mayor said. “This was a painful time for my family, and it’s my sincere hope that no family will ever have to go through any similar circumstances.”
The subpoena served on Edison today related to documents from the township’s investigation into the 2017 flyer.
Like Edison, the Hoboken incident that occurred 40 months ago remains a cold case.
Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante told New Jersey Globe earlier this month that the case is currently closed.