The decision is in response to a request by the Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force and a resolution of the Southampton Town Board. The action was announced at a press conference called by the Anti Bias Task Force on Monday.
None of the east end towns of Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and Riverhead have used the Suffolk County hate crimes unit as yet. Advocates for minority groups have long argued that it requires a specialist in this area to recognize a crime as hate - related.
Lucius Ware of the Anti-Bias group and the Eastern Long Island NAACP says the record of hate crimes investigation in Southampton has been abysmal. Ware says
"the case often ends with no report, inconclusive findings or no findings at all".The recent discovery of a hangman's noose along a nature trail near Bridgehampton was cited as the latest instance of hate-related crime in the area. Bob Zellner, a member of the Anti-Bias group and a white southerner who worked in the 1960s civil rights movement charged that the Ku Klux Klan is active in Southampton and that authorities have ignored this.
"The town ranger said the noose was a kid's prank, not the main symbol of the well organized Ku Klux Klan here in Southampton. Just take it down so people won’t be disturbed by the gruesome hate message. The Klan is distributing hate literature in mailboxes here? oh well, kids will be kids."The Anti-Bias Task Force is also urging the town to seek the help of the FBI and the US Justice Department in investigating the incidents.
Report from WPKN / WPKM News, Tuesday December 4. WPKN news is heard Mon-Fri at 6:30 pm following Free Speech Radio News from Pacifica on WPKN 89.5 FM Bridgeport / WPKM 88.7 FM Montauk.