EXETER, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- There are new developments in the investigation into allegations the mayor of Exeter Borough made racial comments and ordered police officers to target people of color.
The FBI is now investigating those reports. It just so happens the special agent who runs the local FBI office in Scranton is also a member of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre chapter. He told the president of that chapter he wants answers into what, if anything, happened with the mayor and the Exeter police.
“He didn’t want coloreds in the town,” says Leonard Galli, former Exeter Police Sergeant. “He wanted us to remove them from the town, so to speak.”
“I never said nothing about colored people, the black people moving out of town,” says Mayor Herman Castellani.
Those comments are at the very heart of the controversy in Exeter Borough.
Galli, who was fired this week, says he and other officers heard Castellani make racial slurs and ordered officers to target African-Americans. The mayor says it’s pure nonsense and he insists it’s all part of a political vendetta against him by these officers.
“I was impressed that officers were willing to come in and make a complaint with the borough solicitor,” says Attorney Guerline Laurore, President of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre Chapter.
Laurore first learned of the allegations in our I-Team report Wednesday evening.
“The fact that officers that were still working have filed complaints with the solicitor, gives me hope,” says Laurore. “However, I would urge them to take the next step forward and contact the FBI.”
Laurore was in contact with special agent and NAACP member Shawn Quinn.
“Shawn Quinn has informed me that he appointed an officer to do a preliminary criminal investigation into the matter,” says Laurore.
The controversy has people talking. Amanda Hopkins and her daughter, Abigail, of Sweet Valley, shop in Exeter and have friends there.
“Honestly it makes me sick that in 2017, this should be done and over with,” says Amanda. “We are one race, we are the human race.”
“I don’t really like it,” says Abigail. “It’s kind of rude and not nice.”
Our I-Team reached out to Quinn and our calls were not returned. The borough solicitor is conducting an internal investigation into these allegations. No timetable has been given as to when that investigation will end.