Antisemitic flyers appear in more Wichita neighborhoods
Legal experts say though offensive, the flyers are not a hate crime
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - More flyers are showing up in east Wichita neighborhoods. They include antisemitic messages and claims against the Jewish community. Residents in College Hill, Crown Heights and Sunnyside said the flyers showed up in the driveways in plastic bags filled with sand to weigh them down.
Julio Villa was found one on his property Tuesday morning.
“It was just kind of shocking to realize that people still feel that way, but then also I’m not surprised at the same time,” Villa said.
Legal experts with the Kansas ACLU said the flyers are considered hate speech, but they are not a hate crime.
“Pure hate speech is constitutional,” said Sharon Brett, Legal Director for ACLU Kansas. “Speech that is attempting to encourage violence, or that itself is violent, that can cross the line into a hate crime.”
Each flyer differs in messaging. So, those who received them said they’re not sure if there was an intended target. But, one theme is clear, they’re against the Jewish community.
“Obviously the speech is abhorrent, it’s offensive and terrible. It is clearly antisemitic but it does not appear to attempt to incite individuals to violence,” said Brett.
The Anti-Defamation League has seen the same method of distribution in other cities. They ask law enforcement to look at their laws against littering.
“First, let’s be clear. It’s littering. There’s actually an offense being committed. So, the first thing that we encourage people to do is actually not to touch them (the flyers or baggies containing the flyers) and contact law enforcement. Allow them to come out and look at it because they could potentially catch fingerprints or other things and they can make cases,” said David Goldenberg, Regional Director for Anti-Defamation League.
If a person experiences a hate incident that goes beyond mere hate speech, the ALCU encourages them to report it to the police and to places like the Anti-Defamation League.
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