Nazi flag is back in Town of Poughkeepsie apartment window

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The Nazi flag in the apartment rented by Mr. Hayes.

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – A controversial Nazi flag that once hung in a window of an Arlington apartment window is once again being displayed by the tenant.  The flag first created a number of complaints in September of 2019.

The tenant, Keith Hayes, was asked by the building manager, Integrity Property Management, to remove the flag in 2019.  Hayes who lives with his brother, complied with the request.  The flag, officially known as the Reichskriegsflagge, was the war flag used by German armed forces from 1867-1945 and is recognized as a symbol of Nazi Germany.
The 2019 display drew criticism from several local leaders, including Eloise Maxie, president of the Northern Dutchess NAACP, who 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.”  
County Executive Marcus Molinaro in 2019, said, “In no way will such hatred, anti-Semitism, and fear-mongering ever be welcome in Dutchess County.”  He noted that “The Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights was re-established by his administration for the very purpose of addressing this kind of hate and sending a clear message it has no place in our community.”  Complaints regarding the flag at 776 Main Street, Apartment 2, in Poughkeepsie can be lodged with the Commission.
In February of 2020, tenant Keith Hayes put the flag back on display.  It is visible in the rear window of the apartment, facing the parking lot of the Bank of America building.  Observers contacted Mid Hudson News to report the revival.  A reporter contacted Hayes who declined to comment, saying “I’m with my parents right now, please call me later.” The flag was eventually taken down.
On Friday, January 29, 2021, an engineer employed by Central Hudson emailed Mid-Hudson News to report that the flag was back in the window and also provided pictures.  Mid Hudson News attempted to contact Hayes but was unable to reach him.
Chris Orefice of Integrity Property Management, when reached Friday evening, expressed his frustration.  “The Nazi flag is nothing more than a symbol of pure hatred that invokes memories of one of the darkest periods in the world.  To display support for Nazis is nothing more than unacceptable, unadulterated hate speech.”  Orefice vowed that he would once again seek to have the flag taken down.  “We are working with the property owner to determine a legal course of action.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has all but eliminated our ability to evict tenants under most circumstances but we are certainly exploring every option available to have that flag removed – permanently.”
Interested members of the community can also report the incident by contacting the regional office of the Anti-Defamation League.
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