Image courtesy Creative Outlet

Image courtesy Creative Outlet

Nova Scotia man pleads not guilty to promoting hatred with noose sign

Sign outside of a cottage read Redneck Hangout and had an image of a noose

Matthew Byard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter HALIFAX EXAMINER

Mark Andrew Kozlowski of Dartmouth is facing criminal charges of wilful promotion of hatred.

The charges stem from a complaint to Queens District RCMP in September 2020 about a sign outside of a cottage that read Redneck Hangout and had an image of a noose.

On Labour Day weekend 2020, Angela Bowden, who is Black, said she discovered the sign when visiting a group of friends at a cottage in Greenfield, N.S., which is about 30 kilometres west of Bridgewater.

“That sign was a clear indication to me that I was not safe in that part of the woods,” Bowden said. “It ruined the entire visit, because you’ve got to appreciate, we were now nestled in a cottage, in the woods, up the street from an individual who is placing this sign of racist threats.”

“Unless you grew up on another planet, that sign was clear what that noose indicates.”

Bowden took photos of the property and the sign and posted them to social media. A friend of Bowden’s, Jessika Hepburn, who lives in the area, passed the information on to the police.

In a statement released Wednesday, RCMP said Kozlowski was initially arrested just over a week after the complaint was made and then released pending a further investigation.

Kozlowski is president of Wilson Equipment Ltd., a heavy equipment company. In the days after the discovery of the sign in 2020, Wilson Equipment Ltd. issued a statement on its website that said, in part, that the sign was put on Kozlowski’s cabin without his knowledge.

Bowden said she is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of case.

“My hope is that in light of the context of the anti-Black hate that is flourishing openly and privately in this province and abroad, and the escalating anti-Black terror that’s happening in this province and globally, is that they will view this charge under that context, that we will finally take acts of threats against Black people in Nova Scotia and abroad seriously,” she said.

“My expectation is that the justice system will do their job and deliver justice.”

Kozlowski’s lawyer, Victor Goldberg, appeared on his behalf in a Bridgewater court on Wednesday to enter a plea of not guilty. Kozlowski’s trial dates are scheduled for March 27 and 28, 2023.

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