New Milford hate crime brings community together

NEW MILFORD --  A hate crime committed against a New Milford mixed race couple may end up backfiring on the perpetrator.

Just before 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, New Milford police were called to Thompson's Restaurant, at 300 Kent Road, after a passerby noticed a racial slur and a swastika spray-painted across the front of the building.

"I just thought about the safety of my family and just thinking about who, what, when, how and why," said David Thompson, the owner of Thompson's Restaurant.

This incident adds to some mounting obstacles for the restaurant, which has only been own for nine weeks.

"Somebody called liquor control," Thompson said. "Just random stuff. I don't know if we're ruining other people's businesses. I don't know."

"It was just disgusting" said Mayor David Gronbach (D-New Milford), who added that whoever is responsible is a coward and doesn't represent New Milford. "They did this in the dark of night. You know, they're afraid to show themselves."

Gronbach cautioned that "it's important that people not minimize this. And just say 'oh kids will be kids or they don't represent me or my community.' "No. This is happening here."

Initially, the plan, in response to this act of hate, was to have a cleanup and painting party Wednesday but customers wouldn't wait.

"That's the spirit of this town," said Town Councilman Pete Bass (R-New Milford). "That's why this town is special because you saw all the people come here immediately took it that action and got that off of there in."

And it took the large group only about 10 minutes to wipe away the hate. But, the hurt remains. Thompson said, "I grew up in Enfield. I'm not used to this."

The Anti-Defamation League Connecticut office applauded Mayor Gronbach for his leadership on this issue where they released the following statement:

"It is more important now than ever that our civic leaders provide the kind of support for marginalized groups and unequivocal denunciation of this kind of blatant hatred."

Thompson says that his father dealt with plenty of hate growing up in South Carolina. He said his dad fought through segregation in the south and later became a success here in Connecticut.

"This is nothing. It's just graffiti. My dad has done it (beat racism). I'm going to do it, too."

New Milford police would not comment on this case, other than to say their detectives will investigate thoroughly.