ASHLAND, Va. (WWBT) - Local law enforcement agencies are investigating after several pieces of racist letters and fliers were discovered in neighborhoods and businesses across Central Virginia.
In a matter of four days, the Amelia County Sheriff’s Office, Ashland Police and Henrico Police all announced investigations were underway in each jurisdiction.
Bartlett Shaw works at a business in Ashland and said he was caught off guard Sunday morning seeing a flyer with a hate-filled symbol posted on several businesses along Railroad Avenue.
“It had a black swastika, bold, and then it said in capital letters, bold print, ‘we are everywhere’,” Shaw said.
Just after 6 a.m. Shaw said he left his home to take his dog for a walk when he noticed the fliers.
“It was on the Caboose’s sign that hangs, but they also hit their door,” he said. “They were just kind of putting them everywhere. It caught my attention.”
“Police were on patrol and noticed these flyers,” said Ashland Mayor Steve Trivett. “They went around and gathered them all up. I don’t think anything was left up for the public to see by the time the sun came up.”
In a social media post, Ashland Police said several individuals were seen lurking around the downtown corridor just after 3 a.m. Sunday. Those images were captured on a private video camera system.
The police chief called the action “despicable.” Mayor Trivett added the town will not be intimidated.
“The last thing I had said was, ‘In Ashland, we reserve our ‘extremisms’ for compassion, fellowship, and respect for others’,” he said.
That is part of the message you will see on the marquee of the Ashland Theater.
However, this situation is just one of many that have happened across Central Virginia recently.
On Jan. 15, Henrico Police said a resident received a letter in the mail with several racist comments regarding Black Americans and the outcome of the election.
On Monday, the Amelia County Sheriff’s Office announced several residents had received KKK propaganda at their homes.
“In today’s world right now I expect everything,” Shaw said. “It’s very sad; it’s embarrassing, it’s annoying.”
While local, state and even federal agencies work to investigate these matters, many people hope those responsible will be held accountable.
“Whether it’s a prank or an organized group none of it is acceptable,” Trivett said.
On Tuesday the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), condemned the distribution of pro-Trump white supremacist, neo-Nazi propaganda to residents and businesses across Virginia.
“White supremacy is a scourge that must be confronted by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds if we are to move forward as a just nation,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We ask Virginia leaders across the political spectrum to condemn this hate campaign targeting the African-American community and all those who seek justice and equality.”
Anyone with information about these various incidents is urged to contact authorities in those jurisdictions.
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