A Georgia neighborhood was terrorized by a person claiming to be a white male member of the Ku Klux Klan. However, police now say that the person making racially motivated threats to burn down houses in the neighborhood and kill people is actually a black woman.
Last December, residents of the Brookmont subdivision of Douglasville began receiving racially charged letters in their mailboxes. The handwritten notes claimed to be from a 6-foot tall, white male with a long, red beard, who was a member of the KKK.
"The notes threatened to burn their houses down and kill them and said that they didn't belong in the neighborhood," said Detective Nathan Shumaker.
The notes – which used the N-word and talked about hanging people – were received by at least seven black residents in the suburb about 25 miles from Atlanta, according to WGCL-TV.
The Douglasville Police Department said the investigation started by detectives going "door-to-door to check doorbell cameras and gather whatever information they could from the residents." They also handed out flyers to residents about the racially motivated threats.
The letters – which were delivered in the middle of the night – stopped in January, but picked up again in February and March.
An alarmed resident alerted local media to the story, and the letters stopped again until the final letter was delivered on Sept. 6.
Detectives Andre Futch and Shumaker determined that the letters had "similar handwriting, tone and verbiage with some distinctive letters that were consistent throughout."
On Sept. 6, law enforcement found evidence linking the terroristic letters to the home of Terresha Lucas – a 30-year-old black female. The detectives gathered enough evidence to obtain a search warrant. During the search, detectives found other evidence that tied the suspect to the threatening notes, Shumaker said.
Lucas was charged with eight counts of making terroristic threats. The motive behind the hate hoax was not immediately released by authorities.
Police Chief Dr. Gary Sparks commended the detectives, "Our investigators had the drive to stick with this case and see it all to the end. 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," Sparks added.
Black woman in Douglasville accused of pretending to be white man, threatening neighborswww.youtube.com
This is the second hate hoax incident near Atlanta to garner national headlines in as many weeks.
Last week, a black former Emory University employee was arrested and suspected of writing the N-word and drawing swastikas on the university's autism center.
Another race hate hoax was exposed this week in Missouri, where racist graffiti was painted in a high school bathroom that ignited a student walkout. However, the school district revealed that the culprit was a black student.
In May, a "person of color" created an Instagram account that spewed hateful, racist messages. The incendiary posts sparked a school walkout in Minnesota, but later was revealed to be "a hoax sent under false pretense."
In April, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti featuring references to the Klu Klux Klan was found at Michigan's Albion College, which prompted students and staff members to walk out of the school. The perpetrator, who is black, admitted to writing the racist messages.