Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 2, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, July 2, 2020
Sedgwick selectmen condemn racism, address Island incidents
Support ‘thorough and comprehensive’ investigations
by Anne Berleant
“These are interesting times,” Selectman Ben Astbury said on June 30, speaking of recent events of protests, demonstrations, vigils, counter-demonstrations and straight out harassment and criminality in Deer Isle and Stonington.
So, selectmen decided to issue a statement and placed it on the sedgwickmaine.org home page and printed at right.
“Considering what was happening in our communities, we felt it was important and necessary to address this matter exactly the way we did,” Astbury said, stating further that constituents had called concerned over incidents happening on the other side of the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge.
Selectman Michael Sheahan said the board had learned from residents about Black Lives Matter signs defaced on Caterpillar Hill Road in Sedgwick, adding, “There were some constituent-driven concerns about both things, the signs and the Deer Isle incident. We, as a town, needed to make a statement that certain behaviors are intolerable.”
A rope tied in the form of a noose was placed on a Little Deer Isle telephone wire last week, and BLM signs placed on the causeway were defaced with red spray paint.
Astbury added that the statement was also a show of support to “neighbors who are going through trying times over recent incidents, specifically Deer Isle and Stonington.”
Statement regarding recent events in Deer Isle and Stonington
“The town of Sedgwick stands in support of southerly neighbors Deer Isle and Stonington in condemning all forms of racism and criminal behavior associated with recent incidents on the island.
“The shocking threats of bodily harm, harassment, criminal trespass and vandalism committed in recent days, has left many to be concerned for their safety and security. Although peaceful protest, responsible dialogue and other forms of expression have been held recently without further incident, elements on multiple sides of these issues have pushed some to the point of expression through the commission of criminal acts rather than by peaceful and more productive means. In one instance, a piece of rope tied in the form of a noose was hung from a utility line in Deer Isle. We support the call for thorough and comprehensive local, state and federal investigations into these incidents, charges brought forth and for maximum punishment of the perpetrator(s) found to be responsible. These heinous acts of threatened violence, trespass and destruction of property have thrust our beloved communities into chaos and it is time to stand with our neighbors in condemning such acts.
“One of the many alluring qualities of our local communities is the relative safety and security enjoyed by our residents and visitors to our area. The town of Sedgwick is committed to being a responsible, steadfast partner in the preservation and well-being of our precious communities.”