White Guy Tells Black NY Professor In Vermont To Leave The State: 'We Don’t Want Your Drugs And Your Crime And Your COVID'
“There are new ways Americans are turning on each other that we’ve never done in this county,” the professor said.
A Black professor driving a truck with New York license plates was approached by two residents and was told to leave Vermont.
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Columbia University history professor Chris Brown was out with his 11-year-old son in Hartford, Vermont, when the incident occurred, according to Valley News. Brown owns a second home in Hartford, and his family has been staying there since Columbia’s classes went virtual due to the pandemic.
Brown has not changed his New York license plates, and he believes they attracted the attention of the two men who flagged him down. One of the men, who was white, demanded Brown and his son leave the state.
“He started saying, ‘You don’t belong here. Get out of here,’” Brown told Valley News. The man also allegedly told Brown the governor did not want “your kind around here.”
“He said, ‘We don’t want your drugs and your crime and your COVID,’” Brown added. “That has a very strong racial implication.”
Brown was able to de-escalate the situation and leave the scene. He told investigators he was “in fear for the physical safety of him and his son,” according to a police report obtained by NBC News.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott condemned the man’s comments on Wednesday.
“I want to be very clear: I have no tolerance for this kind of thing and it’s unacceptable. It does not represent my views or who we are as a state,” he wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
“While we have travel restrictions to protect public health, when I announced this guidance, I said explicitly we cannot let this become an ‘us versus them’ situation,” Scott added. “I want to make sure everyone hears that. We can be both neighborly and compassionate, while staying safe.”
The Vermont State Police also criticized the white man’s behavior, reported Newsweek.
"Vermont is and must continue to be a state where visitors feel welcome, regardless of who they are, what they look like or where they come from, even during this pandemic," the police said in a press release. "Seasonal residents, the owners of second homes and guests from beyond our borders remain able to travel to Vermont and live here under current health and safety requirements."
"There is no tolerance for this type of behavior. Whether this is criminal activity that doesn’t matter to us, we want people to come forward with this information regardless," State Police Capt. Gary Scott told NBC5.
The state police and Hartford Police Department are investigating the situation as a “bias-related” incident. The identities of the men have not been determined.
Hartford native and State Rep. Kevin Christie insisted this incident does not represent his hometown.
“This is my home. I’ve lived here all my life,” he said. “This is not Hartford.”
Brown believes his experience is proof of a growing divide in the country.
“I can’t think of another time in American history where states have felt it necessary to treat their borders as something that needs to be policed,” Brown said. “There are new ways Americans are turning on each other that we’ve never done in this county.”