I’m asking all residents to unite and send a strong message to the group of racist individuals who have recently been harassing people in our community: This county does not tolerate hate.
In the wake of recent written antisemitic propaganda being spewed in some of our neighborhoods, I want to reassure everyone that we will arrest anyone who breaks the law in their zeal to communicate hate in Volusia County.
As your sheriff, I will use every legal measure I can to squash these angry, racist, white supremacist cowards who apparently didn’t feel welcome in other states and thought we would be hospitable toward their hate-mongering. Not in Volusia County.
We are providing extra patrols for area synagogues and other houses of worship to make sure everyone feels safe. Our community, including law enforcement and local faith representatives, are meeting to strengthen our stance that we won’t tolerate hate and intimidation tactics.
In addition, our state lawmakers are considering a bill, House Bill 269, that would criminalize certain acts of hate including distributing pamphlets or other materials containing religious/ethnic hostility; stalking a person wearing religious/ethnic garments; damaging or defacing public or private property by invoking religious or ethnic hostility; and projecting hate speech onto a building.
This legislation was in the works months ago but its timing couldn’t be better and I support its passage. As written, it would take effect Oct. 1, but I would support enacting it immediately, if possible.
We have a beautiful county filled with pristine natural resources and law-abiding residents. Our number 1 priority is to protect everyone and keep our community safe from hateful actions.
If you see something that seems suspicious or offensive, please say something. Call our non-emergency phone number: 386.248.1777 or 911 in an emergency.
We’re all in this together,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood