Racist flyers found in Providence neighborhood

By News Staff

Reporting by Samantha Fenlon

sfenlon@abc6.com

A Providence neighborhood on the East Side was closed down for several hours after racist pamphlets targeting African Americans and the Jewish community were discovered Thursday morning.

More than 20 bags containing rice and individual pieces of paper with hate messages were found in the Methyl Street area.

"I want it to be clear to everyone in the city that this type of hate, and any kind of hate directed against people because of the color of their skin, who they worship, or how they worship, will not be tolerated," said Mayor Jorge Elorza.

HAZMAT teams were called in because of the rice. Preliminary results show that there was nothing dangerous int he bags.

"There were fire trucks lined up on the street and police were down there, and the guys were walking up and down the street picking up things and putting them in buckets," said Hrant Tatian, who lives in the neighborhood.

"We are looking at every angle. I can tell the neighbors in that area that it wasn’t specifically targeted to one particular house, that’s our knowledge thus far. But we are looking at motive," said Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare.

The messages we’ve seen all reference the KKK.

Neighbors tell ABC 6 News that the whole thing has them unsettled.

"It’s really freaky. We just moved here about two weeks ago and felt like it’s just the quietest hidden little street. To here that someone targeted this street of all streets is really baffling," said Erin Harnett.

"You wonder how far the motivation is and just how far this is going to go. If someone is willing to take the time to do this exactly what is their end game in all of this," said Wendy Baker.

The FBI and State Police are assisting Providence in the investigation. Authorities are looking for help, asking that anyone who may have seen anything, or has an idea of who if responsible, to contact police.

© WLNE-TV 2015