An antisemitism watchdog group identified a speaker by the name of Nick Collela who had expressed desires to run over his Jewish neighbors with his car, according to ABC and The Algemeiner.
His statements were made at a Planning Board meeting last Wednesday in Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York. There has been a reported increase in the population of Orthodox Jews in the area.
During Collela's speech, he said that if Orthodox Jews were "walking in the road at night, not wearing reflectors, and if he was to hit them with his vehicle, he would 'of course back over them again.'”
SICKENING! Bigot at a public hearing in Haverstraw (Rockland County), NY says regarding Jews, “There is a certain sect of people that tend to walk in the street and nobody is wearing any reflective gear. So, if I run one of them over, and of course I will back over them again pic.twitter.com/l5L1tNAkCq— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) November 11, 2021
Colella made statements regarding the local town's Orthodox population and their custom of walking to Shabbat services, ABC reported.
The Planning Board told him that his time to speak during the meeting was over, but he continued shouting over the other participants involved. The meeting was about the possibility of building a yeshiva in the area to better reflect the increasing Orthodox population in the town.
As a result, New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the NY State Police Task Force, which specifically focuses on hate crimes, to investigate the individual making these antisemitic statements.
Hochul, as well as other lawmakers, condemned the incident, saying that "antisemitism, like forms of hate, is horrifying and unacceptable," and that "everyone has the right to walk down the street without fear."
I have heard reports of violent rhetoric towards our Jewish community at a town meeting in Rockland County. Antisemitism, like all forms of hate, is horrifying and unacceptable. Everyone has the right to walk down the street without fear. New York, we are better than this.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) November 11, 2021
Lohud reported that state officials are looking at Collela's statements to see if they could bring forth hate crime charges.
The Rockland County District Attorney Office is working with the Haverstraw Police Department and the New York State Attorney to determine the charges against Collela.