Linden NJ Mayor Used Derogatory Remarks, Policies Against Frum Community

Linden New Jersey Mayor Derek Armstead is under fire after he was caught on tape making anti-Semitic claims against the city’s growing frum community and Chasseidishe Kehilla


Linden New Jersey Mayor Derek Armstead is under fire after he was caught on tape making anti-Semitic claims against the city’s growing frum community, according to a law suit bright by Paul Oliveira, a former school official who alleged that the mayor, the school’s superintendent and school board president, engaged in an “anti-Semitic and illegal scheme.”

The suit alleged that Armstead “warned” that his community was “being taken over by guys with big hats and curls,” during a January 22 meeting.

Oliveira also alleges retaliation from the trio for not taking part in the illegal behavior, he said that he was forced by the trio to use his sick days and other discrimination due to refusing to take part. The suit charges his treatment was a violation of the state’s Discrimination and Conscientious Employee Protection Act.

The suit comes as the race to replace Rep. Donald Payne Jr., who died in April. Mayor Armstead is among those running to replace Payne’s seat in Congress.

Linden, a New Jersey city just south of Elizabeth and west of Staten Island, has a small but growing Chasseidishe Kehilla. Over the past decade, it has become an alternative to the more expensive Chasseidishe Brooklyn communities.

Agudah slammed the mayor’s use of derogatory remarks and actions. In a statement, they said: “Like all people of good conscience, we are appalled at the recent antisemitic comments made by Linden Mayor Derek Armstead. The growth of the Jewish community in Linden and surrounding areas should be celebrated and encouraged, not disparaged behind closed doors.

“Describing the Chasidic community by their choice of headdress and hairstyles is offensive, but most concerning was his apparent desire to discriminate against the Orthodox community in hiring decisions. The mayor swore to “impartially and justly perform all the duties of the office” and has a responsibility to all residents of Linden.

“The community has a right to know if the discriminatory policy he suggested was ever implemented in the school district or other local government entities. At a time when antisemitism in New Jersey is at a record high, civic leaders carry the responsibility to counter hate and antisemitism, not engage in it.”

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