TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – A Nazi flag hanging in the window of an apartment on the second floor of 776 Main Street in Arlington created controversy and shortly after Mid-Hudson News alerted the landlord about it, the flag was removed.
The building is adjacent to the campaign headquarters of Democratic Dutchess County executive candidate Joseph Ruggiero, who called the display “unconscionable” and he condemned it.
“When one segment of our community attacked, none can say we are attack-free. These acts of hate, symbols of hate, hide under the guise of the First Amendment. Now we need to use our First Amendment rights and speak out against it and condemn it.”
Ruggiero said President Trump is “an enabler in the White House who does not condemn such acts.” The county executive candidate pointed to the Charlottesville incident where Trump “aided comfort to those who clearly protested in such a vile manner, it doesn’t make it reassuring for us and allows other folks with that type of belief to feel empowered.”
Eloise Maxie, president of the Northern Dutchess NAACP, also condemned the display.
“Swastikas and nooses are associated with hate crimes,” Maxie said. “They violate our human and civil rights and have no place in our society even though some people might see them as freedom of expression or speech, they provoke violence against a particular group.”
Dutchess County Democratic Party Chairwoman Elisa Sumner also condemned the flag display and said the acts of hatred across American are directly linked to the White House. “The Republican Party, with Trump as their leader, has given rise to more racism, sexist and anti-Semitism.”
Republican County Executive Marcus Molinaro said, “In no way will such hatred, anti-Semitism, and fear-mongering ever be welcome in Dutchess County. Those who seek to spread fear and hatred attack our way of life, the essence of our pluralistic society, and the tranquility of an otherwise peaceful and welcoming community.”
Molinaro said they “re-established our Commission on Human Rights for the very purpose of addressing this kind of hate and sending a clear message it has no place in our community. With our 100 Cups of Coffee public forums and work behind the scenes with interdisciplinary partners, we are responding to hate in our community and will continue to do so. The only way to push back against such cruel and un-American ideologies is to stand together and with one voice say this will not be tolerated, this is wrong and has no place here or anywhere.”
The building is managed by Integrity Property Management. Company President Chris Orefice confirmed that apartment number 2 is occupied by two white males who are siblings. He said that the leases for his apartments have a clause that prohibits such decorations from being displayed.
“My leases dictate that nothing more than ordinary curtains or blinds can be hung in the windows,” said the property manager. Orefice noted that the clause was initially inserted into the leases to prevent tenants from using bed sheets as window dressings.
The property manager noted that this would be the first time that the clause would be invoked to address this type of controversial window dressing.