East Windsor police are investigating after video started circulating on social media over the weekend showing people dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits. The video was shot during a party in East Windsor in the gravel pits, according to local police, and they are calling it "deplorable and reprehensible."
Police in East Windsor and other local communities learned this weekend about the video, which shows people -- some wearing white KKK robes -- dancing at a fire.
Detective Sgt. Matthew Carl said during a news conference on Monday afternoon that the video was taken at a party, around 30 to 50 people were there, and they are trying to determine exactly where it was shot and who was involved.
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Later, police said the group gathered Saturday somewhere in the 500-acre dump site known as the gravel pits, where people typically hang out and ride ATVs.
"We take this matter very seriously," he said. "What we had seen on the post was disturbing. We consider the incident deplorable and reprehensible. The KKK and the symbol of KKK, which is a hood that you folks have all seen, is a hate crime."
Carl added that East Windsor residents are "shaken to the core" and said they will file any charges that are applicable.
"With the sentiment of the country and the things that have been going on around it, we do not want anybody to think the police department is taking this matter lightly," Carl said. "It is a hate crime, in our eyes."
Posts on Facebook claimed the video was taken in Stafford and that some of the subjects in the video are Stafford residents, but police were later able to determine it was actually taken in East Windsor.
In a post on Facebook, the Stafford First Selectman’s office said after meeting with local police, state police and two people who attended the event, they've determined the party did not occur in Stafford, but a Stafford resident did attend. The resident apologized and reportedly told officials they "they unequivocally denounce the KKK looking costume."
Carl said investigators are learning that around 30 to 50 people were at the party and they do not believe, based on interviews with people who were, there that it was a KKK-planned rally. They instead believe kids that kids were getting together.
"We're not diminishing what had actually happened during the party. It didn't seem that it was billed or planned as a KKK rally," Carl said. "Incidents did happen there, obviously folks have seen some of the video, so that doesn't depreciate what actually happened."
The Stafford First Selectman also described the video as “disturbing and disgusting,” and said they would not tolerate such behavior.
"We have zero tolerance regarding bigotry or hate regardless of where it happens," a Facebook post from the office read.