Security Lockdown at Huntington Town Hall
By Rupert Deedes
In the wake of security incidents at Huntington Town Hall, the town has limited the public's access, and beefed up security in and around the building.
Last week, Vincent DiBenedetto of East Meadow managed to enter the building and bypass security staff. He went to the town clerk’s office, where he told the staff that he wanted to pick up a copy of his mother’s death certificate.
DiBenedetto was using his video camera to record his exchanges with the staff and was filming other patrons and residents, which got people upset.
The town's Public Safety officers approached him, but he refused to stop filming, and shouted that he was exercising his "first amendment rights."
When the officers tried to block his filming, he became aggressive, and got into a shoving match with the town’s Public Safety director.
He was later arrested by the Suffolk County police.
Two days later, a group of "First Amendment Auditors" came to Town Hall to continue the videotaping of the building and its employees. They arrived wearing horror masks - similar to those worn by the bank robbers in the 2010 movie "The Town."
They removed their horror masks before entering the building, but were aggressive and obnoxious towards the town employees and residents. Public Safety asked them to leave, and they finally left without anyone being arrested
Public Safety has now implemented new security measures, including a barrier adjacent to the security desk near the entrance to the building, increasing the number of security guards at the building's entrance, and requiring that visitors be escorted to their destination.
Visitors will now also be "wanded" with a metal detection wand to ensure that no one enters Town Hall with a knife or firearm.