A Black Michigan woman is speaking out after a Grosse Point man hung a KKK flag in a window that faces her home on Feb. 16.
Je Donna Dinges told Fox 2 News Detroit she called state and federal authorities when she noticed her neighbor had hung a KKK flag in the window facing her home.
“I said, I know there’s not a Klan sign in the window next door,” said 57-year-old Dinges, who owns a Ferndale clothing boutique. “And I opened the curtains and I looked and sure enough, there was a Klan sign in the window next door.”
Dinges shared an image of the flag, which bear the words “Ku Klux Klan, Invisible Empire” on Facebook. She said she has had issues with her neighbors since she moved into the community 11 years ago.
Dinges said her ex-husband first noticed the offensive flag on Feb. 15 when he was taking out the trash.
“I was furious. How dare he feel comfortable putting a symbol of hatred, violence and domestic terrorism at his window facing my house?” Dinges said to the Detroit Free Press.
Three weeks ago, Dinges’ ex-husband found a full container of gasoline in her recycling bin, she says. That prompted her to get a security camera installed on her home that points at the neighbor’s house. Police also suggested Dinges get a camera installed after she reported the gasoline incident.
“Detectives who came out from the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department told me that the reason the neighbors put the Klan sign up was because I put a camera on my windowsill to record what was happening along the side of my house to protect myself,” she said.
According to Dinges, she called the FBI to report the flag because police hadn’t offered significant help in the past.
The FBI took the report but could not do much because the neighbor had never directly harmed or intimidated her.
She contacted the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in Detroit as well but was unsuccessful in getting real help.
When Dinges involved media station WDIV-TV, a reporter’s inquiry to the city manager and chief of police about the situation prompted two detectives to visit the neighbor’s home. That’s when the girlfriend of the neighbor revealed they were upset about the security camera, and said they were “nonconfrontational people” according to Dinges. She added, “I don’t know how you get anymore confrontational than a Klan sign.”
The neighbor took down the flag and there haven’t been any issues since, Dinges said.
Dinges said during a conference call with city officials and police Tuesday that she didn’t contact local police about the issue because she didn’t think they would care.
“If Black and brown people felt safe with the police, being spoken to by the police, being dealt with by the police and calling the police, we would call you. I didn’t call you because I didn’t think you cared,” she said.
But Dinges said that she was grateful for the support she received from the community in the aftermath of the flag situation.
“The number of people that have reached out to me, I’m overcome with emotion at the love and support that I’ve received from strangers in my community,” she said.
The NAACP of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods released a statement this week about the flag in the window, calling it “an attempt at ethnic intimidation by displaying the KKK flag directly at her and her family.”
Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Robert Denner condemned the neighbor’s actions saying, “We need to make it clear that that sort of behavior is not welcome in our city.”
Grosse Pointe Park city officials forwarded evidence and reports to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Thursday to determine whether legal action is warranted.