Rockland lawmakers condemn ‘hateful remarks,” back probe by DA, attorney general

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NEW CITY – Rockland County Legislators Michael Grant and Jay Hood Jr. said the comments made during a public hearing on a proposed synagogue in Haverstraw were wrong and have no place in the community.

“This hateful language and attitude are absolutely unacceptable and I condemn it in the strongest way possible,” Grant said. “I do not understand – and I do not accept – how someone can say they are going to hit a person with their car and then back over them because they are members of a group of people that they clearly don’t like. It is outrageous and disgraceful.”

Hood, who represents part of Haverstraw, said Planning Board Chairman, Salvatore Corallo and board attorney Christie Todd Addona, responded immediately.

“I am grateful that clear-thinking people acted so quickly to shut this guy down,” Hood said. “He crossed the line and I support a thorough review by the Haverstraw Police Department, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office to determine if his comments meet the legal threshold for terroristic threats.”

Grant, whose district includes the area where the synagogue is proposed, concurred.

“If charges are appropriate, I hope the proper legal authorities will file them,” he said. “As a town, county and state we need to send a clear message that this behavior and this public espousing of hate is not right and will not go unchecked. Neighbors can and should participate in the process but there is no place for bigotry and hate.”

As noted by Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips, Haverstraw town is a diverse community that has welcomed residents of various backgrounds since its founding some 400 years ago. It is also home to the first synagogue, Catholic church and African American church in Rockland, all of which continue to operate.