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Parents Outraged After Hempstead Village Crews Dismantle Roadside Memorial To Deceased Son

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some roadside memorials are being torn down in an effort to clean up one Long Island village.

The actions brought heartache for families who are now calling for change, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday.

Flowers and photos are back outside Lincoln Park in Hempstead days after a previous makeshift memorial was torn down.

The parents of Jamel Floyd were outraged and said crews took part of their hearts when they dismantled the memorial for their 35-year-old son who died last year.

Floyd grew up playing baseball at Lincoln Park.

"You don't take it upon yourself to take a sacred place, where I go in the middle of the night, and I be with my son," said Donna Mays. "We're not bothering anybody."

Several memorials around the village were taken down.

Recently sworn-in Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. said he was keeping a campaign promise to clean up Hempstead, but village police took it upon themselves to include memorials. Some were the subject of complaints about liquor bottles and litter.

"It wasn't my directive, and my condolences to the family and apologies. But we are looking to have a cleaner Hempstead," Hobbs said.

He explained it's a village liability to allow anything to obstruct public sidewalks and roadsides.

"We're looking to have that dialogue where the community understands that we know that you have a mourning period, but we can't allow these things to stay for years," the mayor said.

Hobbs, who's also a pastor, said he didn't intend to hurt grieving families.

Floyd's parents said family memorials are the last thing the village needs to focus on.

"Pick up these guys that's out here robbing people, drug dealers and stuff like that. Murderers. That's what he should be working on," said James Floyd.

Neighbors told Gusoff they had no problem with the memorial.

The mayor said guidelines will be made more clear to give families time to remove personal items from public land.

The family planned to keep placing fresh flowers at the memorial weekly. They said it's their right until the village passes a formal ordinance.

Late Friday, Floyd's mother said she was given until Monday to take the memorial down.

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