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Lindenhurst Residents Appalled By Letter Targeting Them For Their Race

LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Blatant racism has struck on Long Island, as a black family got a letter imploring them to leave their town because of their race.

As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported, the case is being investigated by Suffolk County police Hate Crimes Unit.

Ronica Copes of Lindenhurst read the letter aloud. She could not stomach the shocking anonymous letter sent to her home this week.

Lindenhurst Racist Letter
Police are investigating after Ronica Copes received this letter in Lindenhurst. (Credit: CBS2)

"Attn: African-American family. This is coming from the Lindenhurst community," the letter reads. "Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don't belong here. Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can. It will be better for all of us. Find a town where there are more people like you. Sorry if this is rude, but it's the truth."

Lindenhurst Residents Appalled By Letter Targeting Them For Their Race

As 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported, Copes did not share the letter with the young nieces and nephews who live with her, attend school in the neighborhood, and walk in the area.

But she immediately told her mother and her sister, who urged her to call police.

"We're just not going to tolerate it," Copes said.

Police now have the envelope with its May 19 postmark, and the original printed letter.

Nothing on the letter or envelope is handwritten, and police said getting DNA evidence from it will be a challenge.

But now the family members have said wherever they go in Lindenhurst -- the grocery store or gas stations -- they're sizing up strangers wondering whether they are seeing the person who sent the letter.

"You don't know who it is, so you're looking over your back," Copes said.

The family appreciates support from many neighbors, including 10-year-old Samantha Sullivan, who brought balloons and flowers to Copes' mother.

"To not feel like everyone doesn't want them here, like, a lot of people do want them here," Samantha said.

Many Lindenhurst residents were shocked and appalled by the letter.

"It's embarrassing," said Marisa Greico. "Who wants to be from a town where people discriminate like that?"

"Some moron wrote the letter and said all the town agrees to it?" said Gary Gorman. "That that moron didn't check with me."

And the Copes family will not be intimidated.

"We won't be leaving Lindenhurst," Copes said. "And if we do, it won't be because of this letter."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released a statement about the incident.

"To the coward who committed a hate crime against an innocent family in Lindenhurst -- There is no place for intolerance in Suffolk County. I know the Suffolk County Police Department will do everything possible to solve this hate crime, out you and see you punished," Bellone said in the statement. "I stand together with all Lindenhurst residents who decry this act of hatred. This community and all of Suffolk County are better than that."

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