Riverhead Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz issued a statement Monday publicly apologizing for racist rants left by his wife, Dianne, on Facebook.
Ms. Kozakiewicz used the N-word in a post published at 9 p.m. Sunday complaining about people in a pizza business she was in. The post was shared close to 50 times within less than four hours of it being posted, largely by people condemning the racism.
In another post regarding professional athletes protesting during the national anthem, she wrote: “White guys ‘Soldiers!” risking there lives! While millionaire black brats feel oppressed! If you hate America? Leave [expletive deleted]!”
Ms. Kozakiewicz, a Riverhead school board member from 1995 until 1997, did not immediately respond to a message left on her phone Monday morning. Her Facebook profile was no longer active Monday morning.
Mr. Kozakiewicz, who served as town supervisor from 2000 to 2003, wrote in a statement to the News-Review:
“I am not quite sure where to begin regarding the post and recent conduct of my wife. I am at a loss of words as I do not know what words can repair that which was already said. I am complete loss of words to explain … perhaps, as the post is beyond explanation.
“I am so very sorry. Sorry for the hatred, sorry for the bigotry, sorry for the prejudice … sorry for the rage. I am especially sorry to all those offended by her post; a post which has no place in our world. While our nation seems to be bent on further divisiveness, my wife’s post has no right time, no right place. It was inexcusable.
“To those who do not know me, let me say that her post does not in any manner mirror my views and beliefs (Those who know me, know that already). Nor does our families share in the views expressed in any manner.”
Marge Acevedo, the town Democratic chair, as well as a member of the town’s Anti-Bias Task Force, said she plans to bring this issue up at Monday’s meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in Riverhead Town Hall.
Ms. Acevedo said she wants the incident investigated as a hate crime.
Veleda Spellman, a former Riverhead resident, posted an impassioned video response to the post Monday.
“This is not what Riverhead, N.Y. represents,” she said. “We are a melting pot of different cultures, a melting pot of people that band together … To hear this news is very disturbing.”
“We’re going to pray for you because the type of people that you are, you need prayer,” she added, referring to both Ms. Kozakiewicz and her husband. “That’s the only thing that can help you at this point. This is horrible.”
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter released a statement Monday afternoon apologizing for the “reprehensible comments” and said that “the members of the Riverhead Town Board want everyone to know that we have no tolerance for hate and bigotry in our community.”
“From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry that our community is being harmed by these statements,” Mr. Walter added. “Please know that this is not what Riverhead stands for, this is not what the Town should be recognized for.”
Ms. Kozakiewicz was arrested by Quogue Village Police in January and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, according to a report published in The Southampton Press.
In June, Ms. Kozakiewicz left a voicemail for a News-Review editor requesting a story about her attempt to get the Riverhead School District to show the film “The Stoning of Soraya M.”
“It’s a true story about how women are treated under Islamic Sharia law,” she said in the voicemail. “And I’m terrified this is going to come to America; it already is!”
She went on to say she approached the high school principal about the film and “was swatted away like I was an annoying mosquito.”
Photo caption: An edited version of the Facebook post that went up Sunday night. (Credit: Facebook screenshot)
WITH JOE WERKMEISTER