SHERMAN, Conn. — A couple from Sherman said they won't shut down their new restaurant in New Milford after it was defaced Wednesday morning with spray-painted racial slurs.
David and Senka Thompson opened Thompson’s Fine Comfort Food nine weeks ago on the banks of the Housatonic River, offering traditional family-style foods.
But they were "shocked" to get a call from New Milford police about the racial slurs and a swastika that were spray-painted in black across the front of the restaurant.
"We will not close down — some may want us to close down — but we will be open tonight for dinner," David Thompson said in an interview.
"I'm a little numb and dumbfounded," he said
“I’m fearful for my wife and children, that’s my concern,” said Thompson, who moved with his wife and three daughters from Manhattan two years ago.
But he and his family are taking comfort in the support they have received in just a few short hours.
"The community has been here, and everyone is really coming together," said Thompson, who has a background in running restaurants. "It's almost all cleaned up."
He said the New Milford Police Department has been extremely supportive, and the mayor has stopped by as well.
"I am disgusted that the hatred we have been reading about nationally has appeared in New Milford with the racial epithet and swastika painted at Thompson’s Restaurant," New Milford Mayor David Gronbach said in a Facebook post.
"In the wake of Charlottesville, I posted, 'Hate Has No Home Here.' This statement in opposition reflected my stand against people and ideologies that would denigrate any person or population," Gronbach said.
"Today we know that there are people in our Community that hate based on skin color or ethnicity or religion. They are proud of their prejudice and want others to fear it; to be intimidated by it; to have it normalized. I am here to say that while hate may live in the hearts of some in our Community, we give it no shelter and no safe harbor. I call on New Milford to come together to not only denounce this expression of hate, but to beat it back into the furthest recesses of the twisted heart that harbors it.
"As Mayor, I can assure the Thompsons that the full weight of our police resources will be used to find and punish any person associated with this hate crime. To our Community at large, but especially to our Community of African-Americans, Hispanics, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, and anyone else against whom this expression was meant to intimidate, again I say, Hate Has No Home Here, and we will stand against it," Gronbach said.
The Thompsons joined in that sentiment.
"While we are saddened and very surprised by the hate, we are encouraged by those who support us and understand that racism hurts everyone. It is not representative of the values of our town or our country," they posted on the restaurant's Facebook page. "We hope that all who disagree with this ideology will stand with us to speak out against it."
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