The Riverhead town attorney’s wife made headlines in October for posting a racist and hateful rant on Facebook.
Dianne Kozakiewicz, a former Riverhead Board of Education member, posted the comments after an alleged experience in a pizza place.
In the weeks that followed, the incident sparked a discussion about race and hatred in the town and generated renewed interest in Riverhead’s Anti-Bias Task Force, which a number of people expressed interest in joining.
While there was little disagreement at the task force’s Oct. 16 meeting that racism still exists, there was disagreement about what the next move should be and, specifically, whether Bob Kozakiewicz should be held responsible for his wife’s comments and be fired by the town.
Mr. Kozakiewicz had issued a public apology for his wife’s comments.
“I am so very sorry,” he wrote. “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.”
But others felt Mr. Kozakiewicz had to know about his wife’s posts, saying that she’d written other offensive posts in the past.
“What this task force really needs is to find out if Bob Kozakiewicz condoned, enabled or looked the other way to his wife’s postings because, if that’s true, that should deeply trouble us,” said task force member Marge Acevedo, who also is the town Democratic committee chair. Ms. Acevedo also felt the task force should ask that the postings be investigated as a “hate crime.”
Supervisor Sean Walter said publicly that Ms. Kozakiewicz had a problem with alcoholism, and commended her husband for sticking with her. He said he would not ask for his resignation as town attorney.
Photo caption: The audience at a Riverhead Anti-Bias Task Force meeting after the incident. (Credit: Tim Gannon)