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Defamatory Graffiti Targets West Hartford Board of Education Candidate

West Hartford Department of Public Works employee erases a defamatory statement outside the Little League field on Trout Brook Drive. Courtesy photo

Graffiti making was discovered Sunday morning on the blacktop outside the Little League ballfields at the former UConn campus on Trout Brook Drive.

By Ronni Newton

Graffiti containing a libelous statement about a West Hartford candidate for the Board of Education was scrawled on the asphalt in front of the walkway to the Little League fields on Trout Brook Drive and discovered by parents arriving for games Sunday morning who immediately contacted police.

The message was painted in white, where it was easily visible to anyone arriving at the fields or to use the playground adjacent to the parking area.

Jacobs, 45, is a first time candidate for the Board of Education, representing A Connecticut Party. He was informed about the graffiti by police Sunday morning.

“It has always been in me to see the good in everyone, to try to listen and understand the perspective, ideas, and concerns of all constituents,” Jacobs said in a statement to We-Ha.com. “Clearly there are voices in this community that are still not being heard.”

West Hartford Police Capt. Eric Rocheleau confirmed Sunday that the incident is under investigation. No information about any possible suspect or suspects was provided.

Graffiti discovered Sunday outside the West Hartford Little League field on Trout Brook Drive Courtesy photo

“It saddens me to have learned that our beautiful Little League property was defaced and my name was used in that defamation. Our commitment to children, their families, and the members of this community are the priority. We are better than this but while we endeavor to work together for a brighter future for West Hartford, it is important to make sure everyone knows that their voice can be heard in an appropriate forum. However, and I need to make this emphatically clear, defamation of character or personal attacks on my family is not the way to make that happen,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs has lived in West Hartford since 1998, and he and his wife have a blended family that includes a fourth grade son and a first grade daughter.

Lee Gold, former Town Council minority leader and one of several individuals who left the Republican Party several months ago to re-form A Connecticut Party, said his faith in democracy was tested when he learned of the graffiti Sunday morning. “I was shocked and disgusted by the attack on one of my fellow candidates from A Connecticut Party of West Hartford,” said Gold, who is running for Town Council. “Libel and slanderous attacks of this nature have no place in our electoral process.”

Mark Merritt, former Republican Town Committee chair and also a Town Council candidate from A Connecticut Party also provided a statement.

“Words matter, and I’m beyond appalled that the national discourse and divisiveness has decided to make an appearance in West Hartford. The incident of today is an example of how we’ve lost respect for one another,” Merritt said. “An individual(s) decided to make a statement without fact and defames an individual and his family. We must do better as a community.”

Employees of West Hartford’s Department of Public Works responded to the scene quickly to remove the graffiti. To “erase hate,” Gold said.

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