Metro

Racist flyers found near campus

State, federal law enforcement officials investigate racist, anti-Semitic flyers on East Side

By
Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Racist and anti-Semitic flyers were found in bags on the East Side of Providence near campus Oct. 15, prompting Providence Police to shut down several blocks around Hope and Methyl streets.

Law enforcement officials found the flyers inside bags that appeared to contain white rice in the Blackstone neighborhood. A hazardous materials team from the Providence Fire Department wore protective suits while collecting the bags, which have thus far tested negatively for dangerous substances.

“We followed standard operation procedure to have the bags processed by the (Rhode Island) Department of Health. They are currently being processed for latent prints, and no evidence of chemical or biological agents were found in the bags,” wrote Lindsey Lague, public information officer for the Providence Police Department, in an email to The Herald.

A total of 22 bags were found in various locations near homes, including on the sidewalk and in driveways and yards. Police are still unsure why this neighborhood was targeted, Lague wrote.

The flyers also referenced the Ku Klux Klan, though officials do not know whether the Klan was involved in the incident, Rhode Island Public Radio reported.

Police have increased patrols in the area following the incident, and it is still “too early in the case to determine what charges those responsible might face,” Lague wrote.

Steven Paré, Providence public safety commissioner, told the Providence Journal the crime would be prosecuted as a hate crime “because it was targeted towards both race- and faith-based groups.”

The crime could be prosecuted both on the federal and state level, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state police are involved in the investigation, Paré told RIPR.

In response to the flyers, members of the Providence community have banded together to help all who were impacted.

“We all feel affected,” said Donald Anderson, executive minister for the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, adding that these crimes are “against all of us.”

Anderson expressed faith in the Providence police, whom he said are “incredibly responsive to any anti-Semitism that happens in the city.”

Marty Cooper, community relations director for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, said the Providence Police and Paré have done a “stellar job” in keeping the community safe following the incident by increasing patrols around the neighborhood and keeping in daily contact with the Jewish Alliance. The flyers are “being denounced as a whole” by members of the religious community, and they are “not thought of as anything but hate,” Cooper said.

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