Attorney General William Tong opened an investigation Thursday into whether Project Veritas hidden camera video of a Greenwich deputy manager is evidence of unlawful bias on the basis of political belief, age or of religious affiliation.
“Discrimination, hatred, bigotry against any person and against any religion or on the basis of age or otherwise, is reprehensible and reprehensible,” Tong said. “This video is disturbing. And if teachers, school staff or applicants for education jobs have been unlawfully discriminated against for any reason, I will take action.
Tong, a Democrat seeking a second term in November, said he was acting on the publicly available video, not calls for an investigation by Republicans, including the GOP nominee for the job. Attorney General Jessica Kordas.
“I want to make two points absolutely clear. I don’t play politics with my enforcement authority. And I don’t do politics with civil rights investigations,” Tong said. “And I certainly don’t play politics with schools, children in schools, teachers, students and families.”
In the Project Veritas video, Deputy Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School, Jeremy Boland, is seen talking to a woman over drinks about using age and religion, among other things, to weed out Conservative candidates to teaching positions. Boland was suspended on Wednesday.
Tong’s investigation is likely one of three: first coach Fred Camillo said he intended to hire an outside lawyer to investigate, and the Board of Education is also expected to investigate whether Boland was trying to impress a woman over a drink or if he had actually discriminated against candidates. .
As deputy director, Boland plays a role on committees that select and recommend hiring, but does not have the authority to make hires. “Assistance in the recruitment and selection of employees” is an element of the job description.
In a clip, Boland said he used Catholicism and age to judge whether a candidate was likely to be politically conservative. He did not say how he discerned religious affiliation.
Tong declined to comment in detail on the scope or structure of the investigation. Specifically, he wouldn’t say whether his office would search for all of Boland’s taped videos and not just the brief clippings used in the 12-minute report released Tuesday.
“But let’s just say we’re going to investigate the content and circumstances of this video extensively. And we’re going to assess, analyze and review all available evidence,” Tong said.
Project Veritas, which has been accused of using out-of-context video clips in previous briefings, declined on Wednesday to explain how Boland was targeted or how the woman working for the group engaged him in what appears to be at least three conversations over drinks and meals.
Tong was elected in 2018 on a promise to seek greater authority to prosecute civil penalties for hate crimes and civil rights violations, and the legislature responded in 2021 by passing a bill that gives him that authority. .
“I will not rush to judgment and will follow due process,” Tong said on Thursday. “I won’t do anything different just because it’s a political season and people want to see me reach one conclusion or another. I also want to make it very clear that we will thoroughly investigate and review and analyze all evidence. It won’t happen overnight.”