Mecklenburg County Commissioner alerting FBI of racist letter sent to local leaders

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 7:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Outrage is building after someone sent local leaders a racist letter addressed to Charlotte City Council, Mecklenburg County government, Police, Fire and the CMS Board of Education.

During last week’s Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioner Vilma Leake chose to read the letter, which she plans to turn over to the FBI.

Commissioner Leake says the letter came to her mailbox at the government center. The envelope is addressed to her in handwritten pen, and the letter was typed on a computer.

She opened it right before the meeting and immediately decided to share it.

“Someone had the gall to do this, this day and time, I’m thinking that this community had risen above that mindset but I’m afraid that we have not,” Commissioner Leake said.

She's angry.

“If you’re brave enough to write it, you should’ve been brave enough to sign your name,” she said.

The anonymous note was also sent to Commissioner Mark Jerrell.

“It’s never lost on an African American that we have people out there that have these type of views," Commissioner Jerrell said.

But reading it was different.

“I had so many different emotions go through me," he said.

Out of the bigotry, both commissioners say there lies an opportunity for education.

“Non-people of color have to start grappling with this issue as well," Jerrell said.

Leake says she won’t stop serving and building a better tomorrow for our community.

“They will feel welcome," she said. “Their children will be accepted.”

They are remaining determined to not let whoever sent the letter win.

“I don’t fear you,” Jerrell said. “I’m not scared of you. You can’t break me. I stand on the shoulders of so many who have fought against people just like you and we won’t be broken.”

The letter also mentions President Trump, saying “he has done more for our country than any other modern president.”

Both commissioners say they are concerned about people outside of our area with extremist views potentially coming into town for the RNC.

They say they are more committed than ever to ensure our community will remain safe for everyone.

“We don’t want anyone coming into town to tear up our city,” Leake said. “But outsiders are the ones who will come in and tear up our city and leave, not our residents, so that’s what we have to be careful of.”

Commissioner Leake says they will meet with local law enforcement and then alert the FBI to the communicated threats.

The letter was addressed to several local agencies.

According to a spokesperson for the city of Charlotte, all city council members of color received the letter. One was also sent to Mayor Vi Lyles, but she never read it.

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