Friday, October 31, 2008

Racism in Clifton, Maine

Clifton, Maine is a beautiful and tiny community along the Airline Road about 25 miles east of Brewer and Bangor.

Like so much of central and eastern Maine, Clifton is poor and very isolated. And like most rural and poor parts of Maine you will find people of all political stripes living there. One of the unpleasant truths about places like Clifton, Maine is the very high degree of racial bigotry which still exists. Below is one example:


Student from Maine expelled, charged with hate crimes
By The Associated Press

HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac University has expelled three white students after police charged them with making harassing phone calls to black players on the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Hamden police say they charged 18-year-old Charles Merritt of Clifton, Maine, with hate crimes after he made threatening and harassing phone calls that included racist remarks to three players on the men’s team on Monday.

Merritt, a freshman, was a roommate of two of the players and knew the third, police said. He was charged with three counts each of intimidation based on bigotry and bias, harassment and disorderly conduct.

Emily Loschiavo of West Newbury, Vt., and Courtney Stellwag of Newburgh, N.Y., both 19, are accused in a separate incident of making harassing calls to a resident assistant’s room at a Quinnipiac dorm on Tuesday night. They are charged with harassment.

The New Haven Register reported Thursday that the calls to the RA’s room were answered by two black players on the women’s basketball team who are friends with the resident assistant. Police said both players were threatened with bodily harm.

The three students who were arrested did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Hamden police Capt. Ronald Smith said the phone calls came several days after slurs were discovered on poster and cork boards outside the dorm rooms of the three players on the men’s team.

Smith said the written slurs included a racial epithet and a drawing of a Nazi swastika.


shakira said...

In an Oct. 29 story about the arrests of three Quinnipiac University students accused in the racial harassment of school basketball players, The Associated Press misspelled the surname of a 19 year old New York student. Her name is Courtney Stellwag of New burgh, N.Y., not Stellway. Also, Hamden police say the arrests were for two separate allegations of harassment of members of the university's men's and woman's basketball teams. Charles Merritt, 18, of Clifton, Maine, is charged with three counts each of intimidation based on bigotry and bias, harassment and disorderly conduct for alleged threats against three members of the men's team. Stellwag and Emily Loschiavo, 19, of West New bury, Vt., are charged with harassment of two members of the woman's team.

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Anonymous said...

I grew up in Clifton and I have to say that it is not "very isolated." Many people who live in the town work in Bangor or Brewer, a 20-30 minute drive east. And "very high degree of racial bigotry"? Where are you getting that, from this one kid who acted like an idiot in Connecticut? Heck, in the 2008 election Obama won in Clifton's vote. I think you're looking at the whole town when you should be looking at this one kid.

downeastuh said...

That's funny.....I grew up in the Metro-Hartford, Ct. area and we are not all rednecks out here! To include a whole town in the actions of one person shows the author to be a racist and finger pointer.