Dozens of fliers espousing white supremacist ideologies were disseminated to Greenwood residents early Friday morning.
The fliers ostensibly came from the Nationalist Socialist Movement, one of the more prominent neo-Nazi groups in the country. They announced an “introductory” meeting for new supremacist members and give an address in the DaLinda Estates subdivision for the meeting location.
However, the Greenwood Police Department called the fliers a hoax. Lt. Aaron Fordham said there is no evidence that any such meeting is actually planned.
Fordham and Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson say initial evidence points to a dispute between neighbors as the cause of the fliers.
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The homeowners who live at the address printed on the fliers, Kim and Kenny Zoeller, were dismayed by the “malicious” act to portray them as white supremacists. They worry their safety is now in jeopardy after more than 100 of the fliers were distributed to residents in the area.
Two swastikas are printed on the fliers, and they call for a “white pride neighborhood parade,” excluding “Muslims, Jewish people, Negroes” from common areas and “defending white lives that matter the most, like our President believes.”
The Zoellers suspect that the same person who created the fliers also has spread denigrating rumors about them in the past.
The Zoellers said disputes with the DaLinda Estates Homeowners Association, for which Kim Zoeller is a board member, may be causing the incidents.
“This is not a political issue. This is not a recent voting issue. This is directed directly to Kenny and (me),” Kim Zoeller said.
Bianca Leis, another board member, said a recent HOA dispute stemmed from the consideration of adding amenities at the neighborhood pool and pool house.
The flier states, “We do not want any Muslims, Jewish people, Negroes to be at our pool.”
Leis said she sees a correlation between the timing of the attacks and disputes with the HOA.
“When things don’t go the way they want, they decide to target every member of the HOA,” Leis said.
Fordham, who is leading the investigation of the fliers, also called it an HOA dispute.
He added the department has identified suspects but has not yet questioned them as of Saturday afternoon.
“There are certainly a few people we’d like to talk to,” Fordham said.
Leis said that in the past, she was falsely accused of stealing all of the association’s funds.
“I have no idea why somebody would devote so much time to this unnecessary evil,” Leis said.
Hallgrimson said that because no individual of a protected group was directly harmed by the flier, the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime and was not referred to the FBI.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property “motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”
“(A hate crime) has to be against a specific race or ethnicity, and there needs to be an actual victim,” Hallgrimson said.
However, charges of disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor crime, are possible in the case, Hallgrimson said.
Greenwood Mayor Levi Weaver said the distribution of the flier shocked and disturbed him, but he vowed that the incident is not an indication of white supremacy taking root in the city.
“I can assure you that hate groups will not grow or develop here,” Weaver said.
Dean Klebe, the president of the HOA, said this could play into the political unease of the times, adding that he, too, fears retaliation as a result of the fliers against community members. “Now that it looks like we have a group of Nazis here. It puts a target on us.”
Hallgrimson said police will increase patrol in the DaLinda Estates area.