Quantcast

Bellows Falls town official catching heat for alleged racist rem - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bellows Falls town official catching heat for alleged racist remark

Posted: Updated:
BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. -

Controversy is brewing in Bellows Falls after a town official allegedly made a racist remark that was caught on camera. The comment happened Tuesday at a select board meeting. The town manager claims he just had a slip of the tongue. But some residents are outraged and stunned saying the racial remark is unacceptable.

"Well everyone was shocked. There was the sound of some gasping. Some people sucking air in, and a little bit of laughter like nervous laughter, I thought," said Deborah Wright, who was at the meeting and is upset by the comment.

Town Manager Chip Stearns says he was giving a presentation about an effort to bring a K-9 unit to town to help crack down on drug dealers. He says he was trying to think of the name "Latin Kings," a street gang that's allegedly causing trouble in town.

"I was looking at, in my mind, the image of this Latin Kings that is painted on the back of our building, and saying they are claiming Bellows Falls and we need to do something about it and I just couldn't think of the name of the gang at the time," Stearns said.

Instead, he said "I am hoping that we put them in a car, and that a lot of Latinos leave."

"I apologize for anyone who didn't understand the context in which I was talking. There was not an intent in any way, shape, or form to create a racist slur or remark," Stearns said.

Stearns says it was a slip of the tongue. But the apparent mistake isn't sitting well for locals like Joel Love, who has two Hispanic kids and has lived in the area for 20 years. Mistake or not, Love says no one questioned or apologized for the remarks.

"And I listened and no one corrected him, no one asked him for clarification, no one said, 'Hey, you shouldn't have said something like that,' so that he could have corrected himself. That's the part that really gets me," Love said.

"So nothing happened and then the rest of the meeting just kind of went on from there. And I wish it had been different, that someone had made an apology or that someone had been asked to make an apology," said Wright.

Select board chair Tom MacPhee says he is backing Stearns and doesn't feel the comment was intentional.

"No absolutely not. Again, it was just a slip. He had a lot of things on his plate that day and night, and he was thinking of the symbol, the graffiti, and he just couldn't remember the name 'Latin Kings.' It's as simple as that," MacPhee said.

At this point, the select board chair says no disciplinary actions are being taken and the town manager says he is not planning on issuing a formal apology.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:59 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:59:23 GMT
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
  • VSAC to keep federal student loans contract

    VSAC to keep federal student loans contract

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:17 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:17:46 GMT
    Vermont's congressional delegation says the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation will keep its federal contract to service student loans.
    Vermont's congressional delegation says the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation will keep its federal contract to service student loans.
  • Hearing on possible relocation of Elizabeth Teague

    Hearing on possible relocation of Elizabeth Teague

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:01:35 GMT
    A hearing is underway this afternoon regarding the possible relocation of accused workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague.
    A hearing is underway this afternoon regarding the possible relocation of accused workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague.
  • Vt. police say all clear in Newport

    Vt. police say all clear in Newport

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:12:45 GMT
    Police say the threat is over in Newport. Thursday night, police had asked residents to lock their doors and stay inside while authorities searched for a gunman.
    Police say the threat is over in Newport. Thursday night, police had asked residents to lock their doors and stay inside while authorities searched for a gunman.
  • NY police try to ID pharmacy burglar

    NY police try to ID pharmacy burglar

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:39:59 GMT
    New York State Police hope the public can help identify a burglar.
    New York State Police hope the public can help identify a burglar.
  • Williston police try to ID paint thief

    Williston police try to ID paint thief

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:11:41 GMT
    Police are investigating an unusual theft at the Wal-Mart in Williston.
    Police are investigating an unusual theft at the Wal-Mart in Williston.
  • Driver of overweight big rig nabbed in Vermont

    Driver of overweight big rig nabbed in Vermont

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:13:34 GMT
    The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles says a trucker carrying part of a giant crane to a state bridge job had too much weight on his rig and too much alcohol in his system.
    The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles says a trucker carrying part of a giant crane to a state bridge job had too much weight on his rig and too much alcohol in his system.
  • Wire fraud convict has until Friday to object

    Wire fraud convict has until Friday to object

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-08-22 14:29:05 GMT
    A Vermont man convicted of wire fraud for submitting false invoices to a Maine town has reached the end of his allotted time to file objections to a pre-sentencing reporting.
    A Vermont man convicted of wire fraud for submitting false invoices to a Maine town has reached the end of his allotted time to file objections to a pre-sentencing reporting.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.