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Valpo mayor, council president respond after video released of man in black tactical garb spewing racial epithets

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and City Council President Robert Cotton released a statement Wednesday denouncing the hatred spewed by a man clad in black tactical gear who was captured in video on the Porter County Courthouse square over the weekend.

In versions of the video shared on social media, the man, wearing a black mask that covered much of his face and a helmet, carried a sign that said “Keep the region white” with a swastika on it.

Several people confront the man, who was recorded Sunday afternoon, telling him, “You’re spreading hate,” while he tells one person driving by the square to “go find yourself a nice white girl.”

He also shouts “white power” followed by a racial epithet and tells onlookers, “I’m just spreading a message that needs to be heard.”

Costas and Cotton, D-2nd, said they were aware of the incident over the weekend “where an individual was promoting a racist and hateful message” and said the Valparaiso Police Department responded quickly and the man left the courthouse square.

It appears the man acted independently, the officials said. There is currently an open investigation into the incident, according to Capt. Joe Hall, the police department’s public information officer.

“While we respect an individual’s right to free speech, we strongly denounce this individual’s message as being racist, hateful, hurtful and unacceptable,” Costas and Cotton said in their joint statement. “As a community, we denounce racism in any form and continue working to promote inclusion. We reaffirm that Valparaiso strives to be a welcoming community for all and the actions of this one individual reinforces that there is still much work to be done.”