Police, pastor respond after Wilmington church receives racist letter

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department is investigating after a church received a racist letter that is being called a hate crime.

Reverend Dorian Daniels of St. Andrews AME Zion Church says that letter was filled with vile language against African Americans.

“Some of the language said, for instance, that African Americans had no good blood in them at all,” said Daniels. “The language and the nature of this letter poses a great threat and a great fear to many in the African American community and in our churches because there have been massacres that have occurred.”

Members of the New Hanover County NAACP held a press conference in the Blue Room at Wilmington Police Department Headquarters Wednesday.

WPD says a three-page letter delivered to St. Andrew’s AME Zion Church on Sunday, which contained hateful language directed at African Americans in our community. The letter was typed, unsigned and missing a return address.

New Hanover County NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell says this isn’t the first time an AME Zion Church in the Wilmington area has received a letter like this.

“I should be surprised, but I’m not because recently there’s been such an upsurge of people showing how vile and evil-minded they can be sometimes,” said Maxwell.

During the press conference, Chief Ralph Evangelous outlined the following steps WPD will be taking to catch the person responsible and protect those who were targeted:
  • The case is being treated as a hate crime and has been assigned to a violent crimes detective, who’s actively working it;
  • WPD is working with the postal inspector to determine the origin of the letter;
  • Officers have increased patrols around all churches in the area;
  • WPD Crime Prevention will review church security plans, ensuring they are as safe and secure as possible.

“We will not sit back and allow ourselves to be divided,” Evangelous said. “We stand here together. There’s no place in our society [for] a letter like that with the language and disgusting rhetoric that we should be beyond. Let’s fix what the problems are. Let’s not tear down what we have. That’s what this letter, this individual is trying to do.  We stand here united. We’re going to be here together. We’re going to fix this and move on.”

Reverend Daniels says he isn’t going to let this put a damper on his church or the holiday season.

“I needed to go public with this to let whomever the persons are or individual is that we are not fearful,” Daniels said.

To any churches or other organizations that receive a similar letter, WPD says try not to touch it and just contact police.

“The more people who handle it, the harder it will be to collect forensic evidence,” WPD wrote in a news release.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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