Families Hurt As Roadside Memorials Are Torn Down In Hempstead

In an effort to clean up one Long Island village, some roadside memorials are being torn down. The action brought heartache for families who are now calling for change; CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports.

Video Transcript

JESSICA MOORE: Memorial flowers and candles meant to comfort grieving families suddenly tossed in the trash. Welcome back tonight. I'm Jessica Moore

DICK BRENNAN: And I'm Dick Brennan. We can tell you that in an effort to clean up one Long Island village, some roadside memorials are being torn down.

JESSICA MOORE: The action brought heartache for some families who are now calling for change. CBS News Carolyn Gusoff reports from Hempstead.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Flowers and photos are back up outside Lincoln Park in Hempstead, days after a previous makeshift memorial was torn down. They just removed everything and dumped it, all your things?

DONNA MAYS: In the garbage. Flatbed.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Outrage from the parents of Jamel Floyd who say Hempstead Village crews took part of their hearts when they dismantled, without notice, the memorial for their 35-year-old son who died last year. He grew up playing baseball at Lincoln Park.

DONNA MAYS: You don't take it upon yourself to take the sacred place where I go in the middle of the night and I be with my son. We're not bothering anybody.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Several memorials around the village were taken down. Just-sworn-in village mayor Waylyn Hobbs says he was keeping a campaign promise to clean up Hempstead, but village police took it upon themselves to include memorials, some of them the subject of complaints, collecting liquor bottles and litter.

WAYLYN HOBBS: It wasn't my directive. And, you know, my condolences to the family and apologies, but we are looking to have a clean Hempstead.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: He explains it's a village liability to allow anything to obstruct public sidewalks and roadsides.

WAYLYN HOBBS: We're looking to have that dialogue where the community understands that OK, we know that, you know, you have a mourning period. But we can't allow these things to stay for years.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: A pastor, too, Hobbs says he didn't intend to hurt grieving families. Floyd's parents say family memorials are the last thing the village needs to focus on.

JAMES FLOYD: Pick up these guys that's out here robbing people, drug dealers and stuff like that, murderers. That's what he should be working on.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Neighbors I spoke with had no problem with the memorial. The family plans to keep placing fresh flowers here weekly, their right, they say, until the village passes a formal ordinance. In Hempstead, Long Island, Carolyn Gusoff, CBS 2 News.

JESSICA MOORE: The mayor says that guidelines will be made more clear to give families time to remove personal items from public land. Late today, Jamel Floyd's mother says that she was given until Monday to take her memorial down.