Interracial couple refuses to remove racial slur graffiti

- Lexene Charles and his wife, Heather Lindsay, of Stamford, Connecticut, say they won't remove the giant 'n" word spray-painted on their garage door until an investigation into whom is behind the racial slur is thoroughly conducted.  The slur was spray-painted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Charles, who is black, was starting his car before heading to work when he noticed the offensive word.

"There are two people in this neighborhood who repeatedly call me a "n" for the past seven and eight years. I am not a "n." I am a black man," said Charles.

Lindsay, who is white, says their home has been vandalized multiple times. She says Stamford authorities have failed to properly investigate and have even threatened to arrest her for not removing the graffiti.  The city issued a blight citation, which carries a $100 daily fine.

"I believe that I am a voice for the racism that is alive here in Stamford," said Lindsay.

NAACP representatives on Monday called for a full investigation, including canvassing the neighborhood and posting a patrol car to make sure the couple is safe.

Ted Jankowski, the city's director of public safety says an investigation is underway.

"The Mayor and the Police Department continue to take this incident very seriously, and it continues be an ongoing investigation. Immediately following the incident, the Stamford Police Department spoke with the homeowner and neighbors. Police have not been able to find a witness who saw or heard anyone spray painting the sheet-metal garage door. There are a few security cameras in the neighborhood but none captured the incident.

In light of Stamford being an incredibly diverse city, residents would be hard-pressed to recall another racially-motivated incident like this in the last 20-30 years in Stamford. Our police continue to take this seriously and are approaching the investigation from all levels of the police department.

After preserving evidence, multiple offers have been made by the Police Department to paint over the racial slur, at no cost to the homeowner. Mayor Martin and Police Chief Jon Fontneau have personally offered to paint over the racial slur if it will result in the removal of the blight on the neighborhood. However, the homeowner will not grant permission. This does not diminish the offense it has caused to the couple and the neighborhood.

We are fortunate that this type of incident just does not occur in Stamford. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming city to all who come here, no matter their race, religion or national origin. Last week the Police Chief spoke with the President of the Stamford NAACP, and the Mayor's office scheduled a meeting for the Mayor to meet with the NAACP on February 27th. Mayor David Martin condemns the incident that occurred on January 14th and believes that any incident like this, though incredibly rare, has no place in our diverse City."

With the Associated Press

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