Mark Carignan

Police: Protected speech is offensive but can’t be investigated as hate crime

First, let me state that we, as members of the Brattleboro Police Department, both personally and professionally find the offensive and threatening anti-Semitic statements that were written to be heinous and unacceptable. They espouse a type of hatred and intolerance that has no place in our community.

The Brattleboro Police are investigating this incident in order to make contact with the perpetrator so that we can conduct a threat assessment and determine the risk of violence posed by this person.

Arlene Distler and Steve Minkin are correct that police are not investigating this incident as a criminal offense. It is inaccurate, however, to assert that the police made this decision.

In State v. Schenk, the Vermont Supreme Court explicitly stated that speech (including writings) must meet a certain threshold in order to be considered a threat. In that case, a person distributed flyers from the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group factually known to have murdered minorities, to African Americans in Burlington. The suspect was charged with hate-motivated disorderly conduct.

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Mediation addresses citizen complaints

Boston police are discovering a system that has well served Brattleboro police — and citizens — for nearly a decade

A few weeks ago, during a trip to Boston, I picked up The Boston Globe to read coverage of the Patriots' unfortunate loss to the Denver Broncos. On the front page, above the fold, a headline read “Police look to cut a backlog: Complaints against officers to be mediated.”

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