Community calls for Long Island sanitation commissioner's resignation after bias posts online

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Hateful posts from sanitation official leads to outrage
Stacey Sager says the hateful social media posts of Oceanside's Sanitation Commissioner Ryan Hemsley is causing outrage and calls for his resignation.

OCEANSIDE, Long Island (WABC) -- There are growing calls for a Long Island sanitation commissioner to resign after a series of offensive social media posts surfaced online.

On Tuesday, community leaders and advocates from just about every group, condemned the conduct of Oceanside Sanitation Commissioner Ryan Hemsley.

The commissioner is being condemned for years worth of hateful posts mocking Holocaust survivors, African American, the LGBT community, and even those with disabilities, mocking them for working.

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"It's just hate, hate, hate," Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice said.

Jonathan Brooks is a 23-year-old from Oceanside.

"This is not a joke. This is their everyday lives," Brooks said. "This is parents of kids with autism buying special locks and doors to keep their children safe."

Hemsley was recently elected to his position to supervise trash cleanup in Oceanside.

A fellow board member suggesting he clean up his posts beforehand, but the stench lingered and they were sent out anonymously in a mass email.

"When I look at these posts, it sickens me," Dorris Hicks of the NAACP said.

"It is time to take out the trash of antisemitism, racism, and hate," Regional Director of "Stand With Us" Northeast Avi Posnick said.

But how do they remove someone recently elected to office? They say it requires one of the residents Hemsley serves here in Oceanside, to file a legal petition with New York's attorney general.

"But for an average person who has a job and a family to take care of, litigating in court is hard," New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky said.

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Eyewitness News tried to get a response from Commissioner Hemsley on camera. Instead, it was a statement on his Facebook page saying, "I take responsibility for some of the posts that were made in public groups and inappropriate comments with friends, however, other things that came from this anonymous packet, were doctored."

But those speaking out on Tuesday say, even one of these, would be too many.

"We will investigate. The question is the legal authority to act," said John Ciampoli of the Oceanside Sanitation District Counsel.


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