SACRAMENTO — Sacramento police are investigating who left hate filled leaflets on cars in Midtown early Tuesday morning, and why.
The leaflets were found on O Street between 13th and 17th Streets and on J Street near 25th Street. The flyers mention white genocide and exterminating Muslims and Mexicans. They also read “If you have not secured a body dump site, do so now. Kidnap, rob and torture.”
Even though the rhetoric is considered hate speech, that seems to encourage violence, the Sacramento Police Department says it does not necessarily constitute a hate crime.
“The first amendment does protect the right to free speech, even if that speech is deplorable or despicable,” Officer Matthew McPhail with the Sacramento Police Department said.
McPhail told FOX40 the act of distributing those leaflets, however racist or disturbing they may be, is not a crime.
“Part of the investigation will be trying to determine if there is some crime associated with the distribution, some sort of other act that has taken place,” McPhail said.
“Well, I hope they don’t wait until it is,” neighbor Linda Contreras said.
Contreras woke up to find one of the flyers on her car Tuesday morning. She said even talking about it made her emotional.
“Because my mom lives right there and she’s elderly, just to know it’s right out her door,” Contreras said.
Others say the anti-Muslim language in the letter has far reaching consequences.
“Unfortunately with the increased political rhetoric, the attacking of immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims, we’re seeing an uptick in incidents around the country,” Basim Elkarra said.
Elkarra is the Executive Director for the Council on American Muslim Relations or CAIR. He said the leaflets seemed to be fueled by one person’s bigotry and was in no way reflective of the community in Midtown.
“People don’t want to let their guard down but we hope we’ve moved passed that era,” Elkarra said.
As of late Tuesday night, there was no word on who copied and redistributed the letter that appears dated. However, it was signed “Greg Withrow,” a well-known white supremacy activist who grew up in Sacramento and has been vocal in the media since the 1970s.
Neighbors believe he distributed the leaflets in an attempt to gain followers.
“He’s guaranteed gonna get some followers cause there’s a lot of hate in this world,” Kimberly Winzer said.