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Bloomfield town leaders decry racism after two incidents they say were racially motivated

Police also seized weapons from a suspect accused of pulling a gun on a young black man.

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. — Bloomfield police are investigating two racist incidents that happened in town, they announced in a press conference on Tuesday. 

Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown and Bloomfield Police Chief Paul B. Hammick held a press conference to talk about the incidents. They were joined by the victims of the crimes and other community leaders. 

“That’s what we are not going do. that is not who we a we will not accept any form of racism.” said DeBeatham.

In the first incident, an African American woman, Marvyann Duncan, and her young son were harassed in a local store by another shopper on June 4. The suspect used crude language toward the mother and called her son racial epithets while they were shopping. The suspect was a white male with a hat that indicated he was from Granby. Police said they were working with the state's attorney office and have identified the suspect and are determining appropriate charges. Hammick said they expect to have action on that charge by Wednesday. 

Speaking about her son, “He is now, extremely traumatized by this event ... is in many ways afraid to leave the home. And you know this this will be forever, a lasting a long lasting traumatic experience and memory for him,' said Duncan.

An arrest has been made in a second unrelated incident. 

Chazre Douglas, who is African American, spoke at the press conference, said he was approached by Michael Fannon, 47, of Bloomfield, who later claimed the teen, "was suspicious." The young man said he had been hired to do lawn work on a yard in the neighborhood and the suspect had previously called police to report the young man in the area. While talking, Fannon pulled out a gun. He said to police he did that because he said he was scared.  “Being scared is no reason to take aggressive action like that and that's why he was charged by the police department. It’s unacceptable,” said Hammick. 

Douglas later told police as he called police to report what was happening, he walked over to the curb and sat down. He said Fannon stopped nearby. Douglas said he thought Fannon was going to shoot him and he thought he was going to die for no reason. 

Police are doing extra patrols in the neighborhood and Fannon has been warned to stay away. 

Fannon has been charged with interfering with a police investigation, disorderly conduct, and a racial bias crime report was also issued. Police seized all the firearms from the suspect’s residence. Police have filed to seize those arms permanently. They have also filed to revoke his firearms permit temporarily, until they can review that in court. The suspect was released on $1,500 bail and will appear in court next week. No mugshot was released because the crime is considered a misdemeanor. 

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The amount of bail prompted strong words from the crowd gathered at the outside press conference. Hammick said they were following court and bail commissioner guidelines for the charges. 

“But to commit to, to the best of our efforts and our abilities to investigating those issues and taking action, when we can and when we have the facts that are at our disposal," said Hammick.

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