Vermont: Hate Crime Charges for Phone Message Deemed Harrassment

“We welcome the hate crime charges in this case and urge law enforcement authorities in Vermont and nationwide to take similar actions in response to any bias-motivated or anti-immigrant attacks.”

(CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen)

You are probably like me!

First question is: What the heck did 24-year-old Vermonter, Chase Atkins, say in a phone message to warrant hate crime charges, and to draw the attention of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)?

But we aren’t being told exactly what he said!  (We have a picture though!).

From the Burlington Free Press:

Addison County man accused of harassing Migrant Justice members

An Addison County man has been accused of harassing members of Migrant Justice, a Vermont-based organization that advocates for farmworkers and immigrant rights. [Be sure to see Migrant Justice’s website—ed]

Atkins could get two years in jail for the phone call!

Chase Atkins, 24, of Addison was issued a citation to appear in Vermont Superior Court in Middlebury in November, Vermont State Police said. He is expected to be charged with disturbing the peace by using a telephone or electronic communications with a hate crime enhancement.

The accusations stem from incidents that occurred in late August. Police say Atkins was visiting a farm on Vermont 22A in Addison at the time, and during his visit, he let the air out of the tires of a Migrant Justice member’s car. The tires were later re-inflated, and no damage was caused.

Police say that several days later, Atkins left a voicemail for Migrant Justice in which he told them not to return to the farms. State police said the message “would have left a reasonable person to feel threatened and intimidated.”

On Sept. 12, Atkins spoke with members of the Vermont State Police about the incident. The Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office then decided to pursue charges.

The Vermont State Police have notified the Vermont Attorney General’s Office under the Bias Incident Reporting System, police said.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that three other people had also been accused of vandalism and harassment targeted at Migrant Justice members in Addison County during the same late August time period.

So the feud began over access to a local fishing area!

Migrant Justice posted on Facebook in August that for a few nights, a group surrounded farmworkers’ houses, yelled insults, broke windows and air conditioning units and returned later to fire guns into the air.

Police have said that those offenses appeared to be part of a feud between local farm families that started as a dispute over access to a fishing area.

Here, jumping on the bandwagon, is an overjoyed CAIR!  As I understand it, the migrant workers at these Vermont dairy farms are Hispanic, so CAIR national’s interest tells us a lot.

From the Rutland Herald:

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