DANVILLE – The Mayor of Danville Newell Arnerich released a statement Monday, condemning the group of masked people who on Saturday held up signs at the corner of Blackhawk Road and Camino Tassajara, saying things like "White Lives Matter," and "Watch Europa the Last Battle."
The latter is a 2017 film that many have called Nazi propaganda.
Saturday was also the day an 18-year-old man allegedly drove 200 miles to a grocery store in a mostly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY, shooting 13 and killing 10. Almost all were Black.
Investigators found a 180-page racist manifesto the shooter reportedly wrote.
"As most reasonable people do, I share the visceral reactions of many in our community to hate speech groups and hate in general," Arnerich wrote. "This past Saturday, a small group of people stood at the corner of Blackhawk Road and Camino Tassajara Road, displaying banners, one of which read 'White Lives Matter'. Although this took place on private property, just outside of our town boundaries, the incident was reported and town officials were made aware of it as well.
"Those responsible made sure to cowardly cover their faces and hide behind their signs," Arnerich wrote. "These people were acting out hate speech. Though not a crime, this was clearly an abhorrent gesture towards people of color. People and groups like these are looking for confrontation and publicity, and we will not condone them nor give them any credibility, attention, or the publicity they are seeking.
"Our town stands united against racism in any form and any acts that direct harm or hatred toward people based upon race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability," the mayor said.
"Free speech is very painful and hurtful at times," Arnerich wrote. "We do not have to listen or give them any credibility. The horrific mass shooting that took place this past weekend in Buffalo, New York, demonstrates the incredible division that exists in our country.
"The shooter, who is now in custody, posted a document prior to the mass shooting, centered on a far-right conspiracy theory that baselessly posits that the white population in western countries is being reduced or replaced by immigrants in a deliberate plot," the mayor said.
"The shooter, in this case, will be taken out of society and imprisoned for life at the expense of ten innocent people. This price is too much to pay for simple justice for one prejudiced person's actions," he said.
"Danville Town Council, our police department and town staff continue to work to make Danville a safe place for everyone where we can celebrate our diversity and strive for equality for all members of our community," Arnerich said.
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