Photo of Senator Looney.

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

Senate Democrats Issue Open Letter to State, Local Officials, Recommending They Report Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Mask Harassment, Threats to Police


Today, a coalition of 20 Senate Democrats, led by Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex)), issued an open letter to all elected and appointed state and local officials, who are increasingly made the target of vitriol and harassment by individuals protesting COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates, mask requirements and similar adjustments to everyday made necessary by the pandemic. As these individuals are met with "anger, irrationality and abuse which we fear will soon escalate into physical assaults and violence," as the letter says, the Senators recommended officials report any and all harassment, threats, intimidation and violence to local police. The open letter was printed in Hearst newspaper editorial sections; please click here to read the Hearst publication.

This open letter comes as incidents in Connecticut and nationwide continue to be disrupted by protestors increasingly angry and aggressive about their beliefs. While everyone has the right to protest, recent incidents include Board of Education meetings and public events shut down due to disruptive, rude and unbecoming behavior in Connecticut, while even worse offenses have been committed in other states. Teachers in Texas and California have been assaulted and even hospitalized over mask rules and members of education boards in various states reported direct threats to their safety. Public officials are increasing the sizes of their security details, threatening social media posts have been investigated by police and the escalation of rhetoric and actions may further continue if unchecked, the Senators said.

The full text of the letter is reprinted in full below.


Today, we are issuing a call to action to all elected and appointed state and local officials to take a stand against the confrontational tactics of the anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and COVID-19 deniers who are increasingly infecting our public meetings, our public discourse and our public life with an anger, irrationality and abuse which we fear will soon escalate into physical assaults and violence against elected and appointed public officials.

We have already seen evidence of such an escalation across America and right here in Connecticut.

It was less than a year ago when 13 militia members, angry with Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer for her COVID-19 restrictions, plotted to kidnap and then 'try' her in the woods of Wisconsin. More recently, since Hawaii announced its vaccine or weekly test mandate, antivaxxers gathered nightly outside the home of Lt. Gov. Josh Green to yell into bullhorns and shine strobe lights into his windows; others distributed flyers attacking him as a "Jew." Teachers in Texas and California have been assaulted. Board of Education members across America have received death threats, followed out of school buildings and told “We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you.” A Missouri hospital administrator was cornered in a parking garage by a person accusing him of "crimes against humanity." Free masks handed out at public meetings have been set ablaze by anti-maskers.

Here in Connecticut, we've seen Gov. Lamont's press conference on school health issues interrupted and shut down by anti-maskers who equated Connecticut with Nazi Germany and who followed the governor out to his vehicle, with one parent extending his middle finger to him. Police have been called to contentious public meetings. Some public officials are increasing the size of their security detail. Social media posts referencing legislators have been investigated by the police. One school board meeting was interrupted by protestors shouting through bullhorns, while others have been shut down by anti-mask protestors. A Black Lives Matter supporter was spit on by an anti-vaxxer at a rally at the State Capitol. In May, someone for some reason drove 20 miles from Southington to Hartford to fire six shots at the State Capitol. The lieutenant governor was recently accosted by a man flying vile flags on his pickup truck at a veterans' event in Norwich.

Protestors in Connecticut are angry and on the edge, and they are getting angrier. In some instances, their words and actions have been praised by certain politicians. This needs to stop. It is only a matter of time until a small, angry group of individuals or one particularly disturbed person who is egged on with disinformation and partisan hubris escalates from spitting and hand gestures and screams of Nazism and criminal behavior to something much more dangerous. The time to prevent any future tragedy is now.

Like our U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign, we are urging state and local elected and appointed officials to report all instances of harassment, threats, intimidation and violence to local police right away for their investigation and disposition. Be it an intimidating social media post, a threatening letter or phone call, a personal confrontation, a sign at a protest threatening retribution, an interrupted public meeting, or something else that your gut tells you is just not right, please report it right away to the proper authorities. Harassment and intimidation in the course of your public duties are not "part of the job"; they are potential crimes that should be reported to police.

Now is the time to take a stand against harassment and intimidation before it escalates into physical violence, injury, and perhaps death.

Sincerely,

Senate President Martin M. Looney
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff
State Senator Norm Needleman
State Senator Will Haskell
State Senator Rick Lopes
State Senator Marilyn Moore
State Senator Christine Cohen
State Senator Patricia Billie Miller
State Senator Saud Anwar
State Senator Julie Kushner
State Senator Matt Lesser
State Senator Steve Cassano
State Senator Derek Slap
State Senator Doug McCrory
State Senator John Fonfara
State Senator Gary Winfield
State Senator Mary Abrams
State Senator James Maroney
State Senator Jorge Cabrera
State Senator Joan Hartley


HOME

SENATE LEADERSHIP

NEWS & MEDIA

SITE LANGUAGE

CONTACT US

Legislative Office Building
LOB Room 3300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

800-842-1420
860-240-8600

For general inquiries:
info@senatedems.ct.gov

e-NEWS SIGNUP


FOLLOW US

Facebook icon.Twitter icon.instagram icon.flickr icon.YouTube icon.


LINKS