LONGMONT, Colo. — The Longmont Police Department (LPD) said officers have spoken to a person believed to be responsible for leaving close to a dozen flyers on downtown Longmont businesses that were "disparaging" toward the Black community.
LPD said on Facebook Friday that Thursday night, officers removed 11 photocopied flyers from storefronts and filed a police report. The police department also notified the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, according to LPD.
"Believe me, I would share the community's reaction to this flyer being absolutely outrageous, and it is, but it’s not criminal in nature," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told 9NEWS on Monday. "Although the flyers are protected by the First Amendment and by free speech protections – doesn’t mean we have to tolerate this conduct."
Dougherty said because the flyer didn't target an individual and the suspect didn't trespass or cause any damage to property, the language is constitutionally protected, so no charges were filed.
"This kind of hateful and racist messaging has no place in our community," a statement released Friday by the Longmont City Manager's Office and the Longmont Downtown Development Authority said. "We consider the diversity of our community an important asset and what makes the Longmont community so special. We share a collective commitment to building community by engaging and learning to bridge cultural differences that value diversity and inclusion among the Longmont community, not tear them down.”
On Saturday, LPD posted an update that said they had spoken to a person believed to be involved in the incident, but there would be no criminal charges.
"While we do not support this message, no charges can be filed at this time," the post said.
Longmont resident and mom Elycia Munoz said she was stunned when saw a photo of the flyer online.
"My heart sank; honestly, I’m a little disappointed that here we are 2021 and just existing hurts people," Munoz said. "It’s a little emotional. I don’t want to live in fear but I also have to be cautious."
Leaders within the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Mountain States Region were alerted over the weekend about the incident. Officials told 9NEWS they agreed with the DA's office that this was not an instance charges could be filed. But Jeremy Shaver, ADL's Senior Associate Director, hoped this situation would prompt more conversation.
"Even if a crime wasn’t committed, there’s still an impact to it right? So that’s why it's important for elected officials, public officials, community leaders – neighbors to stand up and say 'We will not tolerate hate in whatever form it takes,'" Shaver said.
"This is a perfect opportunity to be having the conversations, talking to our friends and neighbors, talking about our values and making sure that when something does cross the line into criminal conduct, that appropriate actions are taken and someone is held responsible for their actions."
Shaver said there organizations efforts also involve informing individuals on what a hate crime is, they've developed a website to better explain.
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