By Joseph Marranca
Joseph can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments
Saturday morning, residents in the small town of Lewiston in Western New York awoke to racially charged fliers in their driveways. It wasn’t long before this scandal reached the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The fliers covered three topics: Anti-Illegal Immigration, White Lives Matter, and Black on White Crime Statistics. One flyer that was found on the property of one Lewiston resident read: “Blacks are Seven More Times Likely to Commit Murder” and “In the USA, every day over 100 white women are sexually assaulted by a Black Male”, ending with the hashtags “White Lives Matter”.
The perpetrator included a link to the source of the stats to the FBI and Justice Department with a web address. The address simply leads to the FBI homepage, where presumably readers could find the information for themselves.
Lewiston Chief of Police Frank Private said, “The content doesn’t really rise to the point of being a criminal act because again there’s nothing in there, just informational. The only thing we’re looking at and the reason that we looked into that is because of the distribution, the way they distributed them because they were left and thrown on driveways, so technically that would be a littering offense.”
However, Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo disagrees, and has called for State Police to investigate. Cuomo, who is thought to be eyeing a possible bid for the Presidency in 2020, said: “As a New Yorker, I was disgusted and offended by the flyers promoting a white nationalist group in Lewiston” and “These messages contradict all that we stand for as New Yorkers.”
Though it can be argued that the posters come from a bigoted and hateful worldview, there seems to be no precedent to undertake legal action based on the content, especially when one considers that public tax dollars would be involved. Whether Governor Cuomo likes it or not, the First Amendment still applies, even in New York.