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Local leader in Bristol resigns following racist online posts

A Bristol resident accused of making racist online posts has resigned his position on the Rotary Club, which manages the city’s farmers market.

The resignation was announced Tuesday by Republican Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano.

“The statement was very disturbing to me personally, and after discussing the issue with the Rotarians, Jim Albert has resigned from the Rotary Club, and will not be associated with the farmers market going forward,” Caggiano said in a video.

The Hartford Courant reports that the NAACP and Democratic officials recently criticized Albert, a Republican political activist and Rotarian who helps run the farmers market in town.

Albert said online that Black people can't be trusted, and that Democratic leadership and the administration of President Joe Biden should be tried and executed.

“Whites can’t fix black culture,” read an August message from Albert, according to the Courant. “The more blacks hate everything and everyone, including themselves, the farther behind they will get.”

When contacted about the messages, Albert told the Courant: “I deny I’m a racist and bigot. I haven’t been one and don’t intend to ever be one, there’s no reason to do that,” but he said he may have “fat-fingered or left words out” of his messages.

“I do not believe all Blacks are not trustworthy, absolutely not. It’s mostly a leadership issue in many cases,” Albert said.

In a statement, the Bristol Rotary Club said Albert’s controversial comments were in no way connected or associated with the group.

“Jim Albert personally apologized to the Bristol Rotarians for his foolish and insensitive comments upon the publication of a hateful post on his personal Facebook page,” the club wrote.

A Facebook post made by the Bristol Rotary Club on August 31, 2023 addressing Jim Albert's resignation from the Club.
Bristol Rotary Club Facebook
Screen Capture
A Facebook post made by the Bristol Rotary Club on August 31, 2023 addressing Jim Albert's resignation from the Club.

The Bristol farmers market has been a big boost to Bristol’s downtown and is a “family-friendly, safe event” that all are welcome to visit, Caggiano said.

The Rotary Club said it’s confident it can continue its work in the community.

“It is the opinion of the Bristol Rotary Club leadership that this situation is not in any way related to the recent offensive demonstration in Bristol,” the club wrote.

That demonstration is now under investigation by Bristol police and federal and state authorities who say they are looking into a social media post that appeared to show a dozen masked men holding flares and a racist sign on a Bristol street earlier this month.

“To my knowledge, there were no initial sightings or reports of this incident,” Caggiano said. “We want to encourage anyone who witnessed this event to reach out to the Bristol Police Department.”

Earlier this week, NAACP leaders gathered in Bristol at a press conference where they discussed recent incidents in the city.

“We find ourselves deeply troubled by the repercussions of these hate-driven actions,” said Corrie Betts, president of the Greater Hartford NAACP.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz joined them and noted there’s been a recent increase in incidents involving white supremacist propaganda across Connecticut.

“We want our state to be welcoming, to be diverse, to be inclusive and to be free of hatred of any kind,” Bysiewicz said.

Connecticut Public's Matt Dwyer, Tyler Russell, Patrick Skahill and Eric Aasen contributed to this report.

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