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Horry County police say anti-Semitic notes not a ‘direct local threat’

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The Horry County Police Department says the anti-Semitic, conspiracy theory notes showing up at Grand Strand residents’ homes are not a sign of trouble.

The note cites conspiracy theories related to Jewish government officials and COVID-19.

According to the HCPD, the note has been found around the state and the country, folded up in a plastic zipper baggie and weighed down by hard candies.

Carolina Forest residents told WMBF News that every driveway in one neighborhood received the note.

Horry County police say anti-Jewish notes not a ‘direct local threat’
Horry County police say anti-Jewish notes not a ‘direct local threat’(Mark Randolph)

A resident who did not want to be identified told WMBF News on Thursday that she hopes its not one of her neighbors that is responsible.

“I pulled out of my driveway, I didn’t notice it then,” she said. “But when I came back in I was like what is that? That means that there either there are mean people running around the neighborhood or there’s actually some mean people who live here.”

The HCPD said there is no local threat related to the note, however, “hate has no place here, and we are committed to keeping our community safe and informed.”

The incident has many questioning whether or not this is hate speech or free speech that falls under the First Amendment.

“It should fall under the category of free speech,” said Mikel Norris, an associate professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University. “Because as you mentioned the key question asked in cases involving whether something is free speech or hate speech, is whether or not the speech is actually advocating violence against those whom it is directing the hate and anger toward.”

The FBI also provided the following statement to WMBF News:

“We are aware of the reports. Although some may find the flyer to be offensive, the FBI cannot predicate investigative activity solely on the exercise of First Amendment rights, including free speech. As always, we encourage the public to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

If you have information about suspicious activity in your community, visit your local precinct or call 843-248-1520 to request to speak to an officer.

If you see a post on social media encouraging discrimination or violence, HCPD encourages you to use the “Report” tools to make the platform aware.

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