Last December, residents of a predominantly black neighborhood in Douglasville, Georgia, began receiving racially charged notes from a person claiming to be a white man and member of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the notes, the sender was described as a six-foot-tall white man with a long, red beard who lived outside the neighborhood. The notes included threats to burn down the homes and kill the black residents, according to the Douglasville Police Department.
Detectives investigated the notes and determined that Terresha Lucas, a 30-year-old black woman, was behind them. Lucas has since been charged with “eight counts of making terroristic threats,” the DPD wrote on Facebook.
“Our investigators had the drive to stick with this case and see it all to the end,” Police Chief Dr. Gary Sparks said in a statement. “That’s what we’re all about and this reflects the professionalism and integrity of the department”.
“They stayed with it and put in a lot of hours. Even when some people went to the media, which could have hampered our investigation, we still stuck with it to the end,” he added.
Detective Nathan Shumaker said that the notes were being dropped in residents’ mailboxes at night for them to find the next day. The first notes were found on December 21, 2020. More notes were found on February 17 and 22, as well as March 1 and 3. The case gained media attention on March 4 when one resident contacted local news station CBS-46 News. After that, the notes stopped – for six months. A final note was put into a mailbox on September 6.
The investigation began with Detectives Shumaker and Andre Futch going door-to-door and asking residents if they could check doorbell cameras for a suspect as well as any other useful information. The detectives also handed out flyers to residents hoping to learn more.
“By mid-March, we really didn’t have anything to go on,” Shumaker said in the DPD press release.
The detectives were able to determine that the letters had a similar handwriting, tone, and verbiage. They were also able to link certain distinctive letters that appeared in all the notes.
On September 6, Labor Day, the detectives found evidence linking the letters to Lucas. They obtained a search warrant and found additional evidence in her home linking her to the notes.
The Grio reported that the discovery that a black woman was behind the racist notes was “an unexpected turn of events,” but recent history says otherwise.
Every recently publicized incident of an alleged hate crime either turned out to be a hoax or saw no resolution. One would be hard pressed to find an example of an actual hate crime committed on a college campus or in an incident similar to what residents of Douglasville experienced.
Just last week it was determined that two alleged hate crimes committed at a high school and a university were hoaxes. One incident included racist graffiti found on bathroom walls at Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. That incident turned out to be the work of a black student.
Another incident, also involving racist graffiti, was determined to have been painted by a black university employee.