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Statement from Mayor Walter Sendzik condemning acts of harassment, vandalism at homes of public officials

Statement from Mayor Walter Sendzik condemning acts of harassment, vandalism at homes of public officials

Statement from Mayor Walter Sendzik condemning acts of harassment, vandalism at homes of public officials

It is disturbing to see the continued harassment, and criminal acts, directed towards public officials at their private places of residence.

The recent vandalism committed at the home of Coun. Karrie Porter represents not only a hateful and unacceptable act, but one that is illegal. This, along with a small group targeting the private home of Dr. Mustafa Hirji for a protest on Tuesday, are just the latest examples of despicable behaviour that has happened to public officials over the last six months.

I believe in peaceful demonstrations and the right to protest, but public officials and their families deserve to feel safe, especially in their homes. Intimidation, threats and harassment is completely unacceptable, and should not be tolerated.

It’s sad that a small group of our community feels they need to stoop to this level. While I appreciate meaningful and passionate engagement, there’s more appropriate places they can come and peacefully demonstrate at, such as government offices. Showing up at the home of public officials is not acceptable and needs to stop. No one deserves to be harassed or yelled at in their own home, and their family and neighbours deserve the same.

Public officials such as Councillor Porter and Dr. Hirji are leaders in Niagara, reacting and making decisions that are right for, and best serve, the greater good of our community. We should be understanding and grateful for their efforts, and I want to thank them for their leadership.

While these types of actions are a blight, I still refuse to believe the efforts of these small groups represent the spirit and character of the majority of people in our community. I am proud of the work of the larger community, whose united action and cooperation in the face of COVID-19 has not let up. While we continue to make progress, we can’t let up now – especially in the face of highly contagious variants. Our social cohesion and solidarity will be an important part of recovery as we try to build back stronger.

I have been in contact with the Chief of the Niagara Regional Police and have been assured that the police are taking these acts of crime seriously and will be acting accordingly to apprehend those responsible for these criminal acts.