Protester demands Putnam County create human rights commission after racist sign at Black Lives Matter protest

A racist sign displayed at a Black Lives Matter protest is sparking outrage in Putnam County.

News 12 Staff

Aug 24, 2020, 9:40 PM

Updated 1,364 days ago


A racist sign displayed at a Black Lives Matter protest is sparking outrage in Putnam County.
Some residents are calling for action and question whether it should be considered a hate crime.
News 12 has obtained video of the incident that unfolded in Carmel during a Black Lives Matter protest Saturday. It shows an unidentified man driving a green truck with a racist sign on it stopping in front of peaceful protesters at the Putnam County historic courthouse.
"The man got out of the truck and started spewing really racist and vulgar things at people," said one of the protesters.
Protester Eileen McDermott says they were trying to get him back in his car but that he then threatened to run over people.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Department is now investigating, but protesters say incidents like this are nothing new.
McDermott attended this and several previous protests happening at the same location in the weeks following the police killing of George Floyd.
"We've seen people with Confederate flags going back and forth. This is not new, and it's indicative of a larger problem in Putnam I think," she says.
She is calling on the county to create a human rights commission to address incidents like this - something proposed by County Legislator Nancy Montgomery.
"It's time for the community to have a formal venue to foster mutual respect and understanding," she says.
The commission rejected it in a 6-3 vote earlier this month, with some legislators saying they'd rather see a task force created versus a commission of untrained and volunteer community members.
Protesters who witnessed the incident say something needs to be done to deter racism in the county.
Putnam is the only county in the region that does not have a human rights commission.

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