A series of clandestinely mailed letters targeting supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have prompted some Plano residents to file reports to city and U.S. Postal Service authorities.
It is unclear if any of the letters are related to others, and it is even less clear who wrote the letters as some of them did not have a return address, but some recipients are alleging that they constitute harassment.
One recipient posted a picture of the envelope with the address redacted on Reddit’s r/Plano community board, saying in a comment, “A racist and harassing letter was delivered to my address. Two other people in my neighborhood have gotten similar but different letters since Feb.”
“There was no return address or anyone taking responsibility,” the source explained after agreeing to speak to Star Local Media on the condition of anonymity. “I looked at the blog that some of the materials are from and it’s run by someone who has a name that lives in my neighborhood. I obviously can’t confirm that that’s the sender but the US postal inspector office is looking into the matter. I appear to be the only one who’s actually reported it to the Postal Service so far.”
This seemingly happened after a yard sign was erected in front of the house saying, “In this house, we believe Black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything.”
The anonymous, five-page letter, which was not shared to the public, prefaced with, “If black lives matter then why is the black-on-black murder rate much higher than all the other races combined?”
It continued, “If you want to be respected as a race then you have to earn the respect and care about your own people … If the black people have so little respect for one another, then why do you think anyone else should? Racism and discrimination you bring upon yourself by your own actions.”
The letter included three pages of Bible verses under a section titled “God’s View of Slavery.” One of the cited verses was Ephesians 6:5, which reads, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity in heart, just as you would obey Christ.” After citing scripture, the author said that “the Africans turned away from the Lord and He sent them into slavery to punish them.”
While investigating authorities recognize the abhorrence of the letter and others like it, there is no evidence that any such letters received by complainants are threatening. Even if any semblance of a threat is made, the contents of the letters have to meet the legal standard of “imminent lawless action” codified by the 1969 Supreme Court decision Brandenburg v. Ohio in order to be actionable.
Because the letters do not appear to meet this criteria, the thoughts expressed in them are duly protected by the First Amendment. Still, repeated instances of sending the letters can be considered harassment, a Class B misdemeanor.
“It’s [like when] you’ve got religious organizations that send stuff out there trying to get you to convert to their religion,” explained Plano Police Department public information officer David Tilley. “If it’s repeated over and over and they’re told to stop and they continue, that would automatically fall under the harassment statute.”
When reached for comment, Paul Ecker of the United States Postal Inspection Service said in an email, “[USPIS] is committed to safeguarding the U.S. Mail and its customers. If an individual receives harassing or threatening correspondence they should contact their local police department as well as file a complaint with us by calling (877) 876-2455 or online at www.USPIS.gov. The letter and envelope should be preserved, and we suggest keeping a log to document any additional incidents. Postal Inspectors will consult with federal and state prosecutors to determine what, if any, criminal charges may be applicable.”
Credit: Source link