Sussex County Democratic Chairwoman Katie Rotondi attacked area Republicans for skipping a symposium on combating hate crimes there Thursday.
“With multiple hate crimes committed in Sussex County over the last four years remaining unsolved amid a substantial uptick of graffitied swastikas and hateful language in our schools, it is unfathomable that none of our Republican County officials prioritized a symposium that offered tools and invaluable information about how to combat these crimes and report bias incidences,” she said.
The event, held last week by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Sussex County prosecutor’s office, comes months after authorities arrested a white supremacist who planned to conduct a mass shooting at an area hospital.
In August, authorities arrested a separate man for unlawful possession of 17 guns, including a grenade launcher. Police also found drugs and Nazi memorabilia in his home.
“The only stance on hate Sussex County Republican officials take can be heard at meetings where they fight against anti-hate resolutions, and in the case of the all-Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders they have allowed a former Freeholder to yell about the LGBTQ community deeming it a ‘wacko lifestyle’ and have spoken about how hate speech may or may not even exist,” Rotondi said.
Last year, Sussex County Republican Chairman Jerry Scanlan made a series of racist posts to the county organization’s social media accounts that included a call to “eradicate Islam from every town, city, county and state in our homeland.”
The county’s freeholders chose not to push Scanlan out of his post on the Sussex Community College Board of Trustees.
“Amid pressure from the Board of Trustees, students and the public to remove Mr. Scanlan after his hundreds of misogynistic, prejudice, homophobic and xenophobic tweets, the Freeholders voted to allow Mr. Scanlan to serve out the rest of his term,” Rotondi said. “In summary, they cited the first amendment as the reason he should remain in his position, neglecting to acknowledge that the first amendment protects individuals from prosecution, not from repercussions in one’s professional and personal life.”