Rep. Bud Williams speaks out over possible hate crime aimed at local business
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - One local leader is speaking out about what he called a racially-motivated hate crime after a black-owned business in Springfield was targeted early Monday morning, leaving hundreds of tires slashed on more than 40 vehicles.
Most of the vans are already back on the lot at Youth On The Move. State Representative Bud Williams told us that the timing was odd after the mass shooting in Buffalo over the weekend targeted the black community.
He has now committed to helping the business bounce back after Monday’s incident.
“This is someone targeting me and this doesn’t make sense,” said Janice Brown, owner of Youth On The Move, a local transportation service for children and families in need.
Brown arrived at work on Monday morning to find 45 vehicles with the tires slashed. An act that she and State Representative Bud Williams said could be a racially motivated hate-crime.
“I don’t want to push the panic button, but I’m going to push the panic button,” said Representative Williams. “I’m treating it as a hate crime until they disprove that.”
Representative Williams told Western Mass News that after the mass shootings over the weekend, including one in Buffalo, New York where authorities said the black community was targeted, he thought the timing was odd.
“This lady’s been here year after year after year,” he said. “All of a sudden, when this other stuff is going on, they decide to do it now?”
Meanwhile, the cost of getting the vans back up and running carries a hefty price tag.
“The insurance company told me that they can’t cover my vehicles today, that it’s $300 deductible for every vehicle,” Brown said. “That’s like $15,000 I gotta find.”
Representative Williams is committed to helping in more ways than one.
“Financially, absolutely, and we’ve reached out to a public insurance adjuster already,” he told us.
That would include looking into potential fencing and cameras around the open parking lot.
“Major point of concern,” said Representative Williams. “I reached out to the city. It’s a private deal and a private law, so we’ll have to see what we can come up with.”
A spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department told Western Mass News the incident is currently under investigation, but we were told it is not being investigated as a potential hate crime.
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