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‘You don’t belong here’ letter sent to family investigated as hate crime

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Police in New York are investigating a possible hate crime.

An African-American family says they received a letter in the mail saying “you don’t belong here.”

Painful, racist words anonymously written to one African-American family in Lindenhurst have quickly drawn outrage.

“The anger was there, the hurt was there, and then, of course, fear,” said Darcell Copes, who received the letter.

The letter shattered the sense of peace Copes and her children thought they found in the Long Island community.

“Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can, it will be better for all of us. Find the town where there are more people like you,” the anonymous person wrote.

Copes said her daughter first noticed the strange letter in the mail Thursday and frantically called her at work.

They then posted the message on Facebook asking for help and support, and called police who took immediate action.

“There have never been any incidents for us, no problems, no quarrels with anyone, so as I said, we are really taken aback,” Copes said.

The original letter has been sent off for fingerprinting.

The Suffolk County Hate Crime Unit is also involved. Darcell said the support from others has been overwhelming.

Now holding onto hope those responsible will be caught, Darcell has a return message for them.

“Sometimes you have a preconceived idea of how a person is just because you don’t know them,” Copes said. “You don’t know how they live, you don’t know what they believe. I would just like to say that I’ll continue to pray for you and you need to get out and meet people.”

In a written statement, Lindenhurst Village officials said they, “stand in solidarity with residents in declaring there no room for intolerance or hatred in this community.