This week, four signs belonging to a known white supremacist group, Patriot Front, were found attached to utility poles along route 12 (two in Ledyard and two in Preston near the Ledyard town line). We thank the residents who removed the signs, reported them to law enforcement, and notified the Ledyard Town Council.
These signs, and the groups they represent, have no place in Ledyard. We appreciate Town Councilor Naomi Rodriguez's statement at Wednesday's meeting. Rodriguez’s statement was the strongest, clearest message on the subject that we've heard from any elected official in town.
However, we were painfully disappointed by Mayor Allyn and the Council Chair, whose weak response did not address the issue. Mayor Allyn said nothing about the matter at the meeting. Council Chair Kevin Dombrowski lamented that he "didn’t know what else" the Council could do, and lost his temper when a resident spoke up.
MUST-WATCH VIDEO OF THE MEETING IS AVAILABLE AT LEDYARDCT.ORG.
Additionally, when the attendees left the meeting, they heard the shocking news that State Representative Maryam Khan was physically assaulted in front of her family following an Eid al-Adha service. We thank the Hartford Police for quickly apprehending the suspect and wish Representative Khan a speedy recovery.
When local governments fail to act and project a false sense of powerlessness, they create a climate where groups like Patriot Front feel emboldened, residents feel unsafe, and attacks like the one in Hartford are more likely to occur. Other towns across the state have also recently encountered similar incidents and their local governments have acted in powerful ways to take further action (e.g., Middletown). They provided educational opportunities for residents, coordinated with law enforcement agencies, and sent a clear, public message that such behavior is unwelcome there, even if the content of the materials does not strictly violate any laws. We expect a better response, and so should the residents of Ledyard. In the meantime, we encourage residents who discover such materials to document their appearance and promptly report them to local law enforcement.