The Vermont State Police are investigating an incident in which a man and his 11-year-old son were flagged down as they were driving in the town of Hartford and told they were not welcome in the state.
Police say the man is black and that there were “significant racial undertones” to the May 8 incident. The man told authorities he stopped thinking someone needed help and was harassed and threatened for having New York license plates.
Police confirmed that the family has been living in Vermont since March.
In late March, Gov. Phil Scott asked out-of-state residents not to travel to Vermont if they don’t need to be here in order to contain the spread of the virus. On Wednesday, Scott said the virus cannot be used as an excuse for hate.
“I want to be very clear, I have no tolerance for this kind of thing,” Scott said. “It is unacceptable. It does not represent my views or who I believe we are as a state.”
“I have been clear those who have homes or family here or who must travel are welcome,” he said.
Vermont State Police Cpt. Garry Scott said that, based on the man’s account, the alleged harassers thought he was a drug dealer from New York .
“I have definitely heard of anti-Asian sentiments around the state that have occurred in the Rutland area so there are other incidents that are definitely occurring out there,” Garry Scott said
Investigators said they do not have descriptions of the vehicles involved and police ask anyone who has more information to contact the Royalton Barracks.