Residents of Forest Grove, Oregon, received ominous and threatening anonymous letters over the past week in response to flying their “Black Lives Matter” flags.
The letters, each identical in the message, were sent to at least three residents and one small business that placed BLM flags outside their houses or buildings.
In bold, black font, the letter read: “Thank you for flying the BLM flag. It will make it easier to identify who is a socialist, racist, woke and un-American when the fighting breaks out.”
Forest Grove residents Matt and Kate Barrett told The Oregonian they received a letter in the mail on June 16 and took it to the police, finding the message to be threatening. They were disheartened, though, after the police decided it was not a direct threat against them and did not follow up or begin investigating immediately
“We know that even within the police force in our community there are people who vehemently disagree with Black Lives Matter and other civil rights actions,” Matt Barrett told The Oregonian. “It’s hard to report something when you have a hunch that it may not get to the right authorities or the right voice.”
Several more residents came forward to report getting the same letter, and police are now investigating, according to The Oregonian.
Forest Grove Police Department Chief Henry Reimann told Newsweek, “We have one officer assigned to take the initial reports and two detectives doing follow-up investigative work. The investigators have also reached out to partnering agencies, to include the Postal Service.”
He confirmed that the police have three of the letters.
Kate Barrett said she was intimidated by the thoroughness evident in the sending of the letters. “It’s scary because of the fact that they didn’t hand-deliver it,” she said. “It seemed like it was thought out—like they were looking around, writing down addresses.”
“I feel more on edge than I did prior,” Matt Barrett said. “I’m a father of two, and I have to worry that whomever did this knows where I live. I don’t want them to take it out on my kids.
“It seems cowardly that someone does this and doesn’t have the goal to even talk or confront us. If you have an issue or grievance about that sign, why? Let’s talk about it, not hurl insults or mail letters,” he said.
The couple also reported that when they put up the BLM sign in their yard almost a year ago, drivers passing by would honk and boo. Their LGBTQ+ flag also instigated some comments, the Barretts said.
Forest Grove is just 35 minutes outside of Portland, a city that has seen an intense outbreak of social justice events over the past year, with protests and riots occurring in the downtown area.
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