BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Mary West noticed something strange sitting on the front lawn of her East Beckley home while taking out the trash Thursday, June 25, 2020.
Thinking it was random litter, she did not pick it up at first, until her daughter came to visit and noticed it too.
“I looked at her and said I’m so tired of people throwing trash out, so she picks it up and says ‘Mom there’s bird seed in it,'” Mary recalled. “I said ‘throw that stuff in the trash,’ so she kept on reading and said ‘Mom, this is something different.'”
Inside of a Ziploc bag filled with bird seed were flyers containing racist messages followed by contact information for the Loyal White Knights Ku Klux Klan chapter based out of North Carolina.
“One of them particularly stuck out to me, saying ‘White men can’t jump but they can shoot. Stay in your lane bro,'” Mary said.
She soon realized these racially charged messages were also in front of her neighbor’s homes. Posts circulating on social media also showed them being found on properties across Mt. Hope and Oak Hill.
“I looked around, and there were others up and down the street, so I just started picking them up,” Mary explained.
Beckley Police are now investigating these flyers. Lt. Detective David Allard said the speech itself is protected under the first amendment, but the way they were distributed could be considered a crime.
“It’s a traffic violation,” Det. Allard said. “It’s littering from a vehicle, and since it’s under a certain weight, it’s not really not a substantial crime. It would ultimately lead to three points being placed on their drivers license, a small fine, and court costs.”
Det. Allard added this is not the first time they have dealt with this sort of behavior. He said he believes this was a random act.
“They come from out of state and travel through random neighborhoods, so I don’t believe there is any correlation between a victim and the person passing this out,” Allard explained.
Regardless, Mary said this is an act of racism and hatred. She added this is not the first time she has dealt with this sort of behavior.
“I invite whoever that’s doing this, next time you feel like you wanna throw something in my yard stop your car, get out, ring my doorbell and talk to me…and let me know why the color of my skin infuriates you so badly,” Mary pleaded. “If there can be ordinances for things like fireworks, there’s needs to be some sort of rule for hateful propaganda.”
Neighbors claimed they saw a black truck driving around these neighborhoods. If you have any information regarding this incident, contact Beckley Police.
59News called the KKK number on the flyer for comment from the group, but have not heard back.