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Town transfers alleged target of hate crime

Jimmie Howard, on Tuesday April 29, 2014 in

Jimmie Howard, on Tuesday April 29, 2014 in Levittown, speaks about a racial incident at the Town of Hempstead Market Lane Garage after he found a picture of a monkey was displayed on a bulletin board. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Town of Hempstead has transferred an employee who was allegedly targeted in a hate crime at a town facility in Levittown, an incident the Nassau County district attorney is investigating.

The town board voted 6-0 Tuesday night to approve the transfer of equipment operator Jimmie Howard from the highway department to the Department of Parks and Recreation, after a picture of a monkey was displayed on a bulletin board at the Market Lane facility in April, apparently referring to Howard, who is African-American.

"We don't comment on internal personnel matters," town spokesman Mike Deery said Wednesday about Howard's transfer.

Attempts to reach Howard, 40, were unsuccessful.

The transfer is retroactive to June 3 and is subject to a 12-week probationary period, according to the resolution. The move would not affect his $48,716 annual salary.

Howard, an equipment operator for the highway department for eight years, made $44,734 in 2013, records show.

Town officials referred the incident to District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office for investigation.

Howard had called for the person who posted the image to come forward.

Town Supervisor Kate Murray had said in April the town would require diversity training for the 25 employees at the highway department facility.

The town had also required diversity training in 2007 when two nooses were discovered on a forklift in a town-owned garage in Roosevelt.

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