Residents calling on city leaders to help deal with racial harrassment
People at the meeting asked the city to take their concerns about racial harassment to the FBI. People in Iowa City say the fliers and stickers from white supremacist groups aren't the only racially-charged incidents they've experienced.
"I've had parishioners who've had neighbors who have put nooses out in their yards, we've had neighbors who have built a habitat house where people put notes of where these folks could go back home to, so this is not acceptable," said First Presbyterian Church Pastor Sam Massey.
Rafael Montoya says signs of racial intolerance don't stop there. His wife has seen racist graffiti at city parks. To him, the problem isn't getting better, it's becoming more common.
"We believe that we live in a progressive city and that we have values so it's important to talk about that," said Center for Worker's Justice Executive Director Rafael Montoya. "We definitely need to send a message to those hate groups."
City leaders say it's disturbing and a trend that extends beyond one town.
"I think there's a vile spirit abroad in the land, that's what I think," said Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton.
But most agree, it will take the entire community to combat bigotry.
"It takes interest in citizens," said Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin. "It takes faith based institutions, organizations like the Center for Worker's Justice."
"They're more afraid because they don't understand me. They don't understand my background," said Kingdom Center Church Pastor Vincent Sterling Allen. "They don't understand what I've accomplished or who I am, that I'm just as American as anyone else."
Chief Matherly says someone connected to the Ped Mall sticker issue has been arrested on racism-related charges in Florida.