Crime and Justice

Bridport men charged with vandalizing migrant farmworkers’ homes

Vermont State Police have arrested three Bridport men for vandalism in connection to incidents on farms in Addison County. 

State police announced Monday that Christopher Thompson, 26; Christian Leggett, 19; and Bryan Ashley-Selleck, 26 have been cited on several charges including multiple acts of vandalism and firing a weapon. 

Charges include 3rd degree arson, aggravated stalking, providing false information to a police officer, petit larceny, noise in nighttime and unlawful mischief.

Police said the incidents were part of a feud between local farm families.

Migrant Justice, a local activist organization, called on police to investigate last month after farmworkers reported their houses were surrounded by groups of people yelling insults, breaking windows and air conditioning units and firing guns into the air. 

Police said most of the incidents occurred late at night or in early morning hours at properties near farms. 

“The investigation has indicated that Ashley-Selleck, Leggett and Thompson committed multiple acts of vandalism, such as damaging property, and other offenses, including at one point firing a weapon, as part of a feud between local farm families that began as a dispute over access to a fishing area,” the VSP said in a statement. 

The three face multiple charges and are set to be arraigned in Vermont Superior Court in Middlebury on Oct. 7. 

The VSP said that it consulted with the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office during the investigation, which is ongoing. 

“The Vermont State Police also provided notice to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office under the Bias Incident Reporting System during this investigation, and VSP will continue to work cooperatively with all relevant stakeholders,” the VSP said in its release. 

No bias-related charges have been filed. 

Police also are continuing to investigate another incident of harassment at a different Addison County farm, and ask those with information to contact Trooper Mae Murdock at 802-388-4919. 

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Aidan Quigley

About Aidan

Aidan Quigley is VTDigger's Burlington and Chittenden County reporter. He most recently was a business intern at the Dallas Morning News and has also interned for Newsweek, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor and the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Connecticut. He is a 2018 graduate of Ithaca College, where he served as the editor-in-chief of The Ithacan, the student newspaper. He is a native of Trumbull, Connecticut.

Email: [email protected]

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Kathy Callaghan

I’m glad they were identified so that the migrant workers can feel safe in their homes. This is ridiculous behavior.

JamesBerry

Seems to me many were quick to claim this was about people harassing “migrant workers” (with no mention if assumed “victims” were here working legally or not, or origin nationality, etc.), when, it appears, it had nothing to do with the people employed to work on the farm, but rather a dispute between 2 citizen families.

Davito Martino

This is obviously a HATE CRIME but is not being treated as such because we are Hispanic. If Africans were targeted as we were the punishment would have been much greater. We expect and demand better treatment by Vermont.

Robert Kenney

From what is reported in this story, I don’t see much evidence of a hate crime. What is evident, is the act of terrorism.

Miriam Fried

Whether the dispute was between local families or not the tactic used was to target immigrant workers. This does not expunge the racist nature of these acts or the sheer cowardice of the the perpetrators in choosing victims that were unlikely to own firearms to defend themselves.

John M Farrell

Hope that all 3 of these idiots receive appropriate punishment. Surrounding a house, yelling insults, firing weapons…….seems like the KKK is functioning well in VT.

 

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