Sunday morning, the letters “KKK” were found painted on the signs of New Bridge Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church and on a truck parked at the Wildwood Country Club, according to The Tallahassee Democrat. Members of a third church, Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church, found the letters spray painted on their church sign Wednesday night before choir practice.
The Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel said he was “livid” about the recent hate crimes occurring in his county.
The grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in Ferguson, Mo., brought out protesters in support of both Wilson and Brown. But the KKK has previously made threats to peaceful protesters.
The KKK chapter near St. Louis, Mo., made their disgust with Brown supporters known by posting flyers threatening lethal force.
The vandalism in Crawfordville, Fl., doesn’t appear to be a random act of terrorism.
On Nov. 28th, the NAACP hosted a town hall meeting discussing the five Wakulla deputies that were suspended for making “insensitive comments” online following the protests of the Ferguson grand jury decision, The Democrat reported.
Deputy Richard Moon wrote on Facebook, “Damn cockroaches! Squash ‘em all!!!! I say we rally for Wilson, who’s with me?”
Anginita Rosier, president of the Wakulla NAACP Organizing Committee, said that the offensive comments by the deputies and the vandalism on the churches are connected.
“We feel (the KKK spray-painting incident) is directly related to the incident related to the Sheriff’s Department and the officers who have been suspended so far, pending the outcome of the investigation,” she told The Democrat.
Rosier said that people are trying to figure out why the vandal is targeting churches.
“I think the biggest question that everyone has is why are they doing it,” she said. “These are senseless crimes. I don’t know if someone’s getting a thrill out of doing them, but they’re serious.”
Creel said he thinks it’s just a few individuals attempting to “stir stuff up.”
“I don’t think this is an active group that the community’s got to be concerned about,” the sheriff told The Democrat.
Despite the hateful attack on the churches, the community was able to come together and make an even louder statement.
New Bridge Hope Missionary Baptist Church opened its doors to visiting members of the Wakulla United Methodist Church, a predominantly white church, for a joint service.
“I thought that was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” New Bridge Hope’s Pastor Derek Howard told The Democrat. “What I saw was a predominantly white church come to a predominantly black church to say we love you, we care about you and we’re here to support you and we’re family.”