On Wednesday an ominous letter threatening the life of a black police officer and ending with the words "white power" was placed in Bridgeport, Conn., police officers' mailboxes.
Police are investigating the unsigned missive, which was written on Bridgeport Police Department letterhead and reportedly singled out a black officer, Clive Higgins, "who was acquitted last month of civil rights violation charges in the beating of a Hispanic suspect in the racially diverse city," according to the Associated Press. "A white officer and a Hispanic officer pleaded guilty and were sentenced to three months in jail."
The note states, "You better watch your back. We know where you live," according to AP. "Your face was all over the newspaper. Remember you have no duty weapon to defend yourself." According to the news site, the letter also reads, "These black officers belong in the toilet," and alleges that the police chief doesn't want black officers, specifically Higgins, on the force.
The Bridgeport Guardians, a minority-officers group that has clashed with the Police Department in the past over race-related issues, held a news conference Wednesday to note that it believes the letter came from inside the department. According to AP, some of the mailboxes that contained the letter are located in areas not accessible to the public.
"If it came from the outside, we'd think, 'OK, people really don't like police,' " Detective Harold Dimbo, vice president of the Guardians, told AP. "But coming from inside, there are no words to be said."
Dimbo told the news service that some officers are concerned for their safety and added, "This type of behavior affects a minority and spreads racism and hatred throughout the Bridgeport Police Department, as well as the community."
According to AP, "The Guardians sued the department for discrimination in 1978, leading to findings by a federal judge that the department was fraught with discrimination against its minority officers."
City spokesman Brett Broesder told AP that Bridgeport has one of the most diverse police forces in the state and added that "anyone found responsible for the letter faces swift discipline."
Read more at the Bennington Banner.