A video showing people in white Ku Klux Klan-like costumes made the rounds on social media and was likely shot in East Windsor, according to the town's first selectman.
A video showing 30 to 50 college-aged people wearing clothing that is commonly associated with the Klu Klux Klan was recorded near the town's gravel pits between Apothecaries Hall and Plantation roads, East Windsor First Selectman Robert Maynard said.
"This is a symbol that has upset our residents, community and the country alike," East Windsor Police Det. Matthew Carl said.
Managers at the company where the gravel pits are said trespassing has long been a problem there.
Maynard told Eyewitness News that it appears to be "kids being kids." Maynard said it didn't look like a racial issue.
"I don't think it's a racial incident. It's a reaction to the recent election. They could have even been making fun of it, laughing at the whole situation. I don't think there's a racial issue here," Maynard said.
East Windsor Police Department is "actively investigating" the video.
"The East Windsor Police Department strongly denounces the KKK and the behavior displayed in the video as it is indicative of hate. We are confident the behavior does not reflect the values of East Windsor residents," East Windsor Police Department posted on its Facebook page.
Police said it as a trespassing issue. He said those involved could be cited on that charge.
"We denounce it, it's disgusting, it's deplorable," Carl said. "This is a symbol that has upset our residents, community and the country alike."
Police have identified some of the people in the video already.
They issued a statement Monday afternoon.
The East Windsor Police Department has received a complaint regarding a social meeting posting that, may or may not have been in our jurisdiction. The video depicted a couple of people within a gathering that were wearing a white robe and a hood. The video within the post has since been taken down. The complaint was made to both the Stafford Police Department/Resident Troopers Office and the East Windsor Police Department, as it appears the person posting the video resides in Stafford. This Department is assisting the Stafford Police Department in their investigation. We will conduct our own investigation concerning the possibility of criminal trespassing, if the location can be determined. The case is current being handling by the East Windsor Detective Division.
On Monday, Maynard released another statement on the video.
"I would like to address the video that has circulated through social media, with what appears to be a person dressed in a white robe and hood. I recognize that this is a very serious matter for the Town of East Windsor and our residents. Racist behavior and bigotry is intolerable in our community, and the Town has a responsibility to investigate the behavior exhibited in the video. We are mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. I’m asking the residents of our town to give our police department the time to thoroughly investigate the tape. If the department finds cause to prosecute people identified in the video, they will do so. When a small community like East Windsor - filled with good, caring people - are tested in this way, we must stand together to condemn bigotry and hatred, but we must also follow the rule of law and trust in the work of our law enforcement officers," the statement read.
Stafford's first selectman posted a response to the video Monday morning because of the connection to his town. First Selectman Anthony Frassinelli took to Facebook to address the viral video.
"There's been a disturbing and disgusting racist video traveling around Facebook," he wrote. "It shows some people dressed in KKK garb. There's been indications that it took place in Stafford involving a few of our residents."
Frassinelli was so irate, he talked to state police to get an investigation opened, only to find out the incident didn't happen in his town. He called the behavior "horrible."
Later on Monday, the first selectman said he met with police and two people who appeared in the video. He said there was one Stafford resident who was seen in the video.
"They apologized for being there and are full of remorse and embarrassment about being involved. They want to make sure the public knows that they unequivocally denounce the KKK looking costume and that they again apologize and said it was just that; a costume," Frassinelli said.
Eyewitness News received a number of viewer complaints about the video after it surfaced on Sunday.
While the video was chilling to some, everyone, including the
The Connecticut Anti-Defamation League called the video "disturbing, disgusting and racist." Their members said this was not a true KKK rally because it wasn’t a formal ceremony.
"We do not believe that it is a real Klan rally, but we are deeply troubled by what it represents which is the acceptance of hateful behavior by those who stood by and watched. We are confident that this behavior does not represent the vast majority of people in that community or Connecticut. The Klan has a very small presence in the Northeastern part of the country, and no discernible presence in Connecticut," the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League said in a statement on Monday.
The Connecticut Anti-Defamation League said the "sheer number of people present is an indicator that it is not a Klan rally."
"Also, Klan rallies are more ceremonial, somber...for them a religious gathering. During actually Klan rallies everyone would be wearing a robe, and they would burn a cross or swastika- not riding a motorcycle around a bonfire. This is not to excuse the actions in the video, but to put them in context and respond appropriately," the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League said.
To read the report on the KKK by the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League, click here.
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