A racist rant on Facebook by the wife of a Riverhead public official last night sparked outrage on social media and has members of the town’s anti-bias task force calling for his resignation.
The wife of Riverhead town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz posted a public status on her timeline last night using racist slurs and obscene language, urging blacks to “PLEASE LEAVE AMERICA” and to go to Africa.
The Facebook account of Dianne Kozakiewicz, who used the name Dianne Delaney on her Facebook profile, was deactivated this morning.
Her timeline displayed other similar posts. Referring to the NFL, she called NFL football players “BLACK BRATS” and urged them to “go away” and “leave my beautiful country” if they “feel oppressed.”
Bob Kozakiewicz, who served two terms as Riverhead town supervisor in the early 2000s, expressed remorse for his wife’s conduct.
“Her rant in no way, shape or form reflects my views,” he said in an interview early this morning.
“I am not quite sure where to begin regarding the post and recent conduct of my wife,” he later wrote in an email. “I am [at a] complete loss of words to explain …perhaps as the post is beyond explanation,” he said.
“I am so very sorry. Sorry for the hatred, sorry for the bigotry, sorry for the prejudice… sorry for the rage,” he wrote. He said the opinions expressed by his wife “have 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,” he said.
Supervisor Sean Walter condemned the sentiments expressed by the town attorney’s wife and said she “needs help” with alcohol abuse issues.
“I told Bob today my heart breaks for him and his family,” Walter said. He said he has nothing but the highest admiration for Kozakiewicz for his courage in standing by his wife as a Christian man to get her help and keep his family together.
“This is not a prevailing view in town hall,” Walter said. “Hatred should never be an election issue. The town should be on its knees in prayer for hatred to go away,” he said, adding that people should also “pray for Dianne.”
The supervisor was also critical of people who reposted screen shots of Dianne Delaney’s posts.
“It is unmitigated hatred that should never be reposted,” he said. “If you see it and you repost it you’re just as guilty in my opinion about propagating that hatred.”
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio also spoke out to condemn the posts. “These ignorant and racist comments have absolutely no place in Riverhead or anywhere else,” she said.
Two members of the town’s anti-bias task force are demanding the town attorney’s resignation.
Task force member Marge Acevedo, who is also the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee chairwoman said “Kozakiewicz has got to resign. I am outraged.”
Angela DeVito, also a member of the task force and a former Democratic town supervisor candidate echoed that view. “It’s not acceptable. I think Bob should leave his position. This is his family. This is despicable. Someone who comes out of a household where this hate is based should not be representing the people in any capacity,” DeVito said.
The town supervisor disagreed. “I am not asking for nor will I vote to accept Bob’s resignation,” he said.
Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson, the town’s only black elected official and also a Democrat, said he was shocked by Dianne Kozakiewicz’s Facebook posts but disagreed that the town attorney should resign.
“I’ve known Bob a long time. He’s a decent guy. He’s always been a good guy, a stand-up guy. Just because you’re married to somebody doesn’t mean you have the same beliefs,” he said.
Woodson said the whole episode reflects a lack of respect for other people. “Whatever happened at the pizza place shouldn’t have happened and this post shouldn’t have happened,” Woodson said. “It all boils down to lack of respect.