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>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
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.