SANDPOINT, Idaho - Dozens of hateful, racist fliers and emails are spreading across in Sandpoint. It's unclear who is behind them, but members of the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force say they have been showing up since April.
The fliers urge members of the Sandpoint community to rise up against people of African American and Latino descent, and followers of Judaism and Islam. Some fliers target local individuals, including Sandpoint mayor Shelby Rognstad. One flier depicts him locked in a gas chamber.
"Initially, it was shocking," Rognstad said. "This began earlier this year, and I haven't experienced anything like that before."
On Wednesday, the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force hosted a press conference in Sandpoint alongside spiritual leaders and city officials to denounce the hateful messages.
"We are here to say, very loud and clear, that this is not who we are," said BCHRT President Lynn Bridges, who is also featured in one of the fliers.
In a statement to the people of Bonner County, Idaho governor Butch Otter said in part, "We have dealt with white supremacists and other groups fueled by hatred before. We told them then, as we continue to tell them now, and in no certain or ambiguous terms, they are not wanted here, and will never be welcomed here."
The Sandpoint Police Department is encouraging people to report fliers or emails they find threatening. Sandpoint City Hall released a statement Wednesday saying in part,"While these incidents are hurtful and offensive, in and of themselves, they often do not violate criminal or civil law, and are protected free speech..."
Town officials say they are committed to maintaining a tolerant community that fosters dignity, freedom, and safety for all who visit and live in Sandpoint.
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