Discrimination and police abuse don’t stop when you reach the countryside.
Lee Fisher, head of the Oneonta NAACP, said they’re investigating three allegations of civil-rights abuses and discrimination in three Delaware County towns: Hobart, Stamford, and Delhi. All the cases are confidential, but he said the one in Delhi was “pretty blatant.”
The City of Oneonta is the site of the longest litigated civil-rights case in American history, the Black List. It is, in fact, the event which actually led to the formation of an NAACP chapter in the area.
In 1992, after an elderly woman in the city reported she’d been attacked by what “sounded like” a black man in an attempted rape, police got a list of every black male student at SUNY Oneonta from the college, and campus police aggressively questioned 125 students. No one was ever arrested.
Fisher said local college students report that there is still a clear difference in the way campus and local police treat students, based on color.
Fisher said that the jails in Delhi, in tourist-y Cooperstown, have a disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated there.
Police brutality isn’t unknown in Delaware County, either. In 2018, the Village of Walton ended a police-brutality case against its police department with a $139,000 settlement.
A group called Fair For All has been unsuccessfully lobbying the Delaware County Fair to ban the display and sale of Confederate flags since 2017. The movement has expanded across New York.
It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.