by Stacey J. Sage – 3/17/19
In a vile, disgusting, and uninhibited racist tirade, Corrine Terrone, Hamden Public Schools employee revealed what is likely her truest self. The event took place in an East Haven supermarket, when Terrone went on what appears to be at least a minute and a half long racist rant in which in front of her two young daughters she taunts an African American woman and man. In the video which was posted on several social media outlets last week, Terrone is seen shamelessly firing the N-word. Even after an unknown upstander and racism interrupter tries to calm her down and suggests that she should not have used the N-word, she proudly shouts out while walking away: “That’s right I said it!” Shortly after walking away, Terrone turns around, and while walking back in the direction of the two victims begins to taunt the African American male yelling: “come on, put your hands on me…you’re a N-word in East Haven.” The obviously enraged and racist mom doesn’t stop there. As both her daughters watch, Terrone turns around and attempts to assault the victims one last time by spewing a wad of spit in their direction while both victims are walking away.
While it is unclear how the altercation began, it’s obvious that Terrone was the aggressor. East Haven Police Lt. Joseph Murgo released a statement, saying the department “is aware of this disturbing video and the hate speech contained in it” but that no complaint has been filed. The statement also asked that anyone involved in the incident contact East Haven Police Department. “We have a lot of avenues to go down if somebody were to reach out to us,” Murgo said. “We want somebody to come forward … if they were present Friday night.” The state of Connecticut has a number of statutes on hate crimes under which Terrone’s crime would fall. The primary criminal statutes are centered around intimidation based on bigotry or bias, and these statutes provide three degrees of penalties. The first degree penalty which states that “a person commits the first degree crime of intimidation based on bigotry or bias if he maliciously and with intent to intimidate or harass another person because of his actual or perceived race,” If the victims do come forward, or even if they don’t and the county or state decides to take appropriate and justifiable action, Terrone could be facing charges of disorderly conduct, aggravated harassment, attempted assault, and ‘breach of peace’ which together could carry fines upwards of $5,000 and up to six months in jail. African Americans on social media have suggested that with the way that the law typically seems to dip in the favor of white citizens and white women, in particular when an African American male is involved, the two victims may be concerned about coming forward, for fear that they may be wrongfully accused or even counter-charged.
“We have become aware of video footage that appears to show an employee in our district engaged in abhorrent conduct. Specifically, the video appears to show the employee repeatedly calling an African-American man the N-word in a supermarket in East Haven.” The statement goes further to say “The video also appears to show the Hamden employee spitting at the aforementioned African-American male as he was walking away from the employee. It also appears that the employee’s children witnessed her conduct. Because her children were present, school administrators filed a DCF report…”
In a clear denouncement of Terrone’s racist and terrorizing behavior (Terrone’s own daughter seems to be dreadfully frightened by her mother’s reckless behavior) the district’s statement also describes the consequences of Terrone’s actions.
“The language the employee used in the video is in conflict with the values of the Hamden Public School System. Someone who will use that sort of language in any setting, whether public or private, is not someone we want anywhere near our children. The employee is separated from service, and we hope that her children will receive the support they need after witnessing such a traumatic event.”
The district’s Human Resource Director had previously contacted Terrone to arrange an investigatory meeting with her. Shortly after final arrangements were made for the investigatory meeting, Terrone pre-emptively rendered her resignation “effective immediately.”
Similar to the district’s stance on the matter, State Sen. Len Fasano and state Rep. Joseph Zullo, both Republicans representing East Haven, issued a joint statement rightfully condemning Terrone’s conduct.
“What we saw in this video is repulsive and deeply offensive and does not represent the people of East Haven or our values. The behavior is shocking and upsetting and has no place anywhere, including in our community,” Fasano and Zullo said in the statement. “We understand Hamden Public Schools has acted quickly to seek this employee’s resignation. East Haven police are also seeking more information and urging any potential victims or witnesses involved to come forward. Hate speech and violence will not be tolerated in our community.”
Thus far, it would at least appear that there is hope for justice in this matter. If so, Corrine Terrone’s gross display of racism, white privilege, and poor parental judgment, could set a precedent in sending a message to racists who may feel emboldened and/or empowered to commit hate crimes (due to current leadership in our country or otherwise), that they are [not] above the law.