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Local Officials Investigate Hate Crimes Targeting District Candidate

Josh Gottheimer
Josh Gottheimer Photo Credit: Karlito Almeda

Several local police departments are conducting investigations of a hate crime committed against Fifth Congressional District Candidate Josh Gottheimer.

Earlier this week, flyers depicting Gottheimer as the devil were hung in public places such as schools and train stations in Bergenfield, Westwood, Emerson, Hillsdale, Park Ridge, Woodcliff Lake and Washington Township.

The flyers also included derogatory attacks on the LGBTQ community. 

Gottheimer allegedly falsified federal government documents in a campaign ad against Scott Garrett, the reports. 

Still, local officials are not tolerating the attacks on Gottheimer.

"I do not view this posting as one of freedom of political ideology, I view it as a message of hate," Westwood Mayor John Birkner said. 

"The symbolism and extreme characterization of Gottheimer along with the comments posted on his Facebook page speak of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and bias.

"I strongly and vehemently denounce the distribution of any materials that that infer messages of bias or intolerance to race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity," Birkner said.

The Bergenfield Council issued this statement in response to the propaganda, as well.

"The flyer's intention was clear and spewed a message that was anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT, and represent the very worst of the toxic environment seen this campaign season," the statement said. 

"A bigoted message like this has no place in our community and it is important to take a strong stance against it."

"We also call on Mayor Norman Schmelz, a political supporter of Congressman Scott Garrett, to strongly denounce this message of hate. Bergenfield is a wonderfully diverse and accepting community and messages of bias and intolerance have no place here."

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