A Black candidate for mayor of Shreveport has received multiple anonymous threats, and Louisana state police are investigating and considering involving the FBI.
According to Shreveport Times, Caddo Parish commissioner Steven Jackson, a Democrat who is one of eight people running for mayor, received an anonymous note threatening that he would be lynched if he didn’t drop out of the race. Jackson also received a call earlier in the week threatening to have “reports” released on him if he doesn’t withdraw his candidacy.
The note, which Jackson received Wednesday, was left in an envelope at the Jackson family home. The note contains a photo of Jackson superimposed onto an illustration of former President Barack Obama with a rope around his neck, appearing to be lynched, with the word “Rope” under his image. The illustration was adapted from Obama’s famous “Hope” 2008 campaign poster created by Shepard Fairey.
Under the illustration is the threat including the N-word, reading, “Leave our statue and property alone and get out of the race n*****.”
Neither the note nor the envelope say who the message is from. Jackson said he doesn’t live at the house where the note was left but said the message was evidence of a hate crime.
A colleague of Jackson’s, Lamar White Jr., shared an image of the note on Facebook on Wednesday, saying he’s known Jackson for over a decade and calling him “one of the most exemplary public servants and most accomplished young leaders in the entire state.”
Shreveport mayoral candidate Steven Jackson received this horrific, racist, threatening, and anonymous flyer at his home…
The post has been shared more than 600 times, with people commenting with supportive messages for Jackson.
A state police trooper told the publication that the state police is investigating.
“If in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal offense, the FBI is prepared to investigate,” New Orleans FBI special agent Eric Rommal told the publication. “The FBI takes seriously all acts or threats of violence and is committed to investigating crimes that are potentially motivated by hate.”
In a news conference, Jackson said he had also received a threatening call earlier in the week from someone telling him a similar threat, but he didn’t report the message to local police because of his criticism of the police chief as a mayoral candidate.
“We feel comfortable putting this either at the state or federal level. I think they have the resources best to investigate it. SPD needs to be working on the crime issue,” Jackson said.
- A guide to (not) using the N-word
- Living with the constant threat of death as a Black American
- White feminism is fertile ground for white nationalism
Jackson was elected as Caddo Parish commissioner in 2016. The “statue” reference in the note, the Times reported, is a reference to a Confederate monument, which Jackson voted to remove in October. The commission voted in favor for the removal, 7-5, but had been stopped by a lawsuit from the Shreveport Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A federal judge ruled last month that the parish could remove the statue, though the chapter is expected to appeal.
The Shreveport Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy did not have a comment for the Times.
In his conference, Jackson said he wants the people who left the message to know that “we love you.” He’s also not dropping out of the race.
“We’re not afraid,” Jackson said. “This is hate. That’s what this is. And Shreveport and Caddo Parish should be about love. It should be about unity.”