NASSAU, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Was a fire at a Rensselaer County home a hate crime? That’s what police in Nassau are trying to determine.
“We are investigating this as a hate crime,” Schodack Police Chief Joseph Belardo said. “We have to take things like this seriously.”
“It’s home to us,” Madison said. “We’re staying. Why would I let somebody [scare me]? I mean, if you want me to go, it’s better for you to come and ask me as opposed to doing some foolishness like this.”
“In light of the recent fire and symbols of hate against an African American family in Schodack, New York, the Albany NAACP and the Albany Law Enforcement Reconciliation Team [ALERT] issues this statement.
As we call for a thorough investigation by Law Enforcement, the Albany NAACP and ALERT has begun an investigation of its own to ensure that everything possible is being done to get to the bottom of this crime. As the perpetrator is identified and arrested, we will make certain that they are tried to the fullest extent of the law.
This act is an example of the brazen spirit of racism that has touched various cultures in increasing manner in recent months. We are prepared to take legal, legislative and community action against any acts of hate that threaten to destroy and degenerate our society. Although we know racism exists, it becomes more threatening when those in our own community is affected.
Today, we visited the crime scene and spoke with various police agencies to gather as much information as we can. Although all evidence points to this as being a “Hate Crime” we will reserve judgment until the investigation is complete.
As President of the NAACP and Founder of ALERT, Pastor David Traynham, I met with Schodack Police Chief, Joe Belardo, who assured me that they are doing all they can to uncover the entire truth. The Schodack Police Department is the Lead Investigating Agency. They are being assisted by the New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation at this point. Should this prove to be a hate crime, we will be advocating for the Department of Justice to intervene as well.
As the investigation continues, we assure Lequan and Jennifer Madison as well as their five children that they are not alone.
The time is at hand for racism in all its forms to be addressed and stopped. Our great nation embraces people of all races, religions and colors. We will stand with African Americans, Jewish people, Muslims and people of every culture, against all acts of hatred.
Hate crimes have been a Federal Offence since 1968 and we will ensure that justice is served against anyone who perpetuates such an act.”
If you know anything about the fire, you are asked to call Schodack Police at (518) 477-8077.