The Westfield Police Department has taken immediate action in response to a series of concerning incidents at the town’s train station.
Flyers bearing handwritten comments perceived as threats towards the Jewish community have sparked an investigation that promises to address bias and discrimination firmly, according to Police Chief Christopher Battiloro, .
Chief Battiloro stated, “The Westfield Police Department is in receipt of numerous reports regarding materials posted at the train station this morning, some of which were defaced with handwritten comments perceived by many to be threatening towards the Jewish community. This incident is being reviewed for criminality.”
In an unequivocal stance against bias and discrimination, he added, “We observe an absolute zero-tolerance policy for any and all forms of bias and will thoroughly investigate any reported bias incidents. We will refer all identified perpetrators to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for criminal complaint approval and seek to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
The safety and security of the community remain a top priority for Chief Battiloro. He emphasized, “Please know, the safety and security of this community and its people – all people – is and always will be our paramount concern. Our officers will do their very best to make sure that everyone feels safe and secure here. We will continue to maintain a highly visible police presence in the community – at our schools, our houses of worship, at public gatherings, and elsewhere to ensure such.”
In light of these events, Chief Battiloro met with members of the Westfield Ministry Association to prepare for a prayer service for peace in Israel and Gaza, scheduled to take place at Saint Helen’s Church on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Mayor Shelley Brindle also expressed her gratitude to Chief Battiloro and the Westfield Police Department for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the community.
She said the town has an unwavering stance against hate and discrimination, stating, “I want to reiterate that the safety and security of all of our residents is our top priority, and any acts of hate, bias, or discrimination will not be tolerated and, if found to be criminal, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
In these challenging times, Mayor Brindle emphasized the need for kindness and compassion among residents, saying, “We are living in very difficult times, making it more important than ever for each of us to treat each other with kindness and compassion.”
She encouraged community members to join in a prayer service at St. Helen’s Church, where the town’s residents can come together in prayers of hope, healing, and peace, further demonstrating Westfield’s unity in the face of adversity. The service is scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow night.
“I unequivocally condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack from Gaza against the peace and security of both Palestine and Israel,” said Democratic strategist James J. Devine. “We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel in these dark hours, grieve over the loss of life and the many injuries, as we also send our sympathies to the many families who are now suffering as a result of this heinous action. It is frustrating that Hamas has invited chaos and terror to Gaza because this senseless violence is only going to sacrifice innocent lives in Palestine, as the victims of this attack are avenged with ruthless retaliation.”
“These vile displays of anti-Semitism in Westfield are expressions of ignorance and bigotry and the perpetrators should be exposed,” said Devine.