OLD BRIDGE – The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners, New Jersey Republicans representing the Township of Old Bridge, and Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry have issued statements vehemently condemning a racist email sent to Ward 3 Councilwoman Edina Brown.
Brown, one of two Democrats on the Township Council and the only member of color on the dais, received the letter on March 7.
She began her first term in 2018.
A member of the public read in full the email at a Township Council meeting on March 9, which called Brown a “whining” derogatory name, and the email continued using the derogatory name referring to Black people and was not sure how Brown was elected to a position in a Republican township.
Brown, who does not know who sent the email, forwarded the email to the mayor and township police. Township Attorney Mark Roselli said the the township police department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the email.
The public information officer for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said they “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation or the lack thereof.”
During recent council meetings, Brown has expressed concerns about feeling threatened from other members on the dais. She did not appear in person at a council meeting on March 23 because she was told she was not allowed to bring her own security to the meeting.
Members of the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners said in a statement, “We are appalled by the recent message received by Old Bridge Councilwoman Edina Brown.
“We vehemently condemn the sentiments and vile language expressed in that message,” the commissioners said. “Racist and threatening rhetoric has no place in Old Bridge, our county, or our country, not now, not ever. We stand by Councilwoman Brown, and all others who have had to face direct bias attacks. The brazen, xenophobic and cowardly actions of close-minded individuals do not define the diverse and inclusive residents of Middlesex County. This incident has been referred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for investigation.”
State GOP lawmakers representing the township also condemned the racist email.
“The fact that there is this sort of hate based on race is disgraceful,” said state Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-12), who lives in Old Bridge. “Diversity is something to be proud of because it has endured despite attacks from people who can’t see past skin color or ethnicity.”
Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-12) said “the person who sent this email is hiding because they know what they did is categorically wrong and appalling.
“This coward should be found and prosecuted,” he said.
Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-12) said “regardless of political party, we must condemn racism in all form.
“Republicans are the party of Lincoln, the party that fought for freedom for all,” he said.
Henry said “any speech, whether written or spoken, in which any type of racial epithet or slur is included, is unacceptable, inappropriate and condemnable.
“I immediately instructed that all warranted resources be committed to identify the author or group responsible for composing and sending such an offensive document,” he said. “Additionally, I have requested that appropriate outside law enforcement agencies be contacted to assist as required. Given that this is an open and continuing investigation, I am not at liberty to discuss details of the investigation and/or matters related to it.”