“White Lives Matter” Fliers Dropped Outside Westport Homes

Westport is the latest shoreline town to find "White Lives Matter" fliers dropped outside homes.

It's the third instance in two weeks. Residents of East Haven and Milford also noticed the racially charged leaflets, which first showed up amid violent unrest in Baltimore over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

Although it's not clear who is behind them, the fliers in all three towns look identical: "#White Lives Matter" is printed in large black font on a white sheet of paper. The fliers are enclosed in plastic bags and weighed down with rocks.

The phrase appears to be in response to the slogan "Black Lives Matter," which has gained support after the killings of black men by police officers in places like Ferguson, New York City and Baltimore.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe described his town as "open and welcoming" but condemned the fliers.

"I am deeply concerned and disappointed that statements like this have found their way to Westport homes. This kind of racial ugliness has no place anywhere, and certainly not in Westport," he said in a statement Friday. "This past year has reminded us that our nation still needs to deal with some serious racial issues, and now we know that Westport is not immune. I have asked TEAM Westport to work with the Interfaith Clergy, the Board of Education and the appropriate Town agencies, to lead our community's response to these outrageous statements and, more importantly, the behaviors and beliefs that underpin them."

Community members said they plan to join religious leaders and others to lead a response to what they see as outrageous statements.

"I think they’re horrible. I mean I don’t think any lives matter over others. I think all lives matter," said Westport resident Denise Torve.

Residents said it's also a reminder that the nation, including Westport, still has work to do when it comes to racial issues.

"I understand the 'Black Lives Matter' viewpoint because black lives do seem to be under a little bit more threat, and as a grandmother of a black grandson I am very conscientious of that," said Torve.

All the fliers appeared to have been collected and removed by Friday afternoon.

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