The good life in Calvert County that Miguel Uribarri and his family have experienced since moving to the Cavalier Country subdivision in Dunkirk received a rude intrusion Sunday by items that were left in his driveway.
Uribarri told Southern Maryland News that what he found were two small plastic bags with paper and rice inside it, and a hate-filled message on a flyer.
“I saw all the writing on it,” said Uribarri, who described it as “KKK propaganda.”
The message in one package reads, “Dr. King’s ‘dream’ has come true. Blacks and whites are miscegenating, destroying both races. The communist Jews are enjoying it immensely.”
The message is attributed to the “Loyal White Knights,” and includes a web address and two phone numbers.
After looking around to see if other neighbors had received similar packages, Uribarri told his wife and oldest child about the disturbing discovery. Then he contacted the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office.
Conceding that the action of the unknown distributor may not qualify as a crime, Uribarri nevertheless declared, “This shouldn’t be happening. No one should be tolerating this. Attention needs to be called to this.”
“We were surprised,” said Kate Willyard, another Cavalier Country resident who found similar literature packaged and strewn outside her home.
Willyard told Southern Maryland News she didn’t see the distribution as a threatening message but instead, “this is a recruiting tactic.”
She added that she plans to write letters to several elected officials in order to “let them know what’s going on.”
“I think what they want is a reaction from us,” Michael Kent, president of the Calvert County Chapter of the NAACP, said of the incident. “I think it’s meant to annoy or antagonize us. I think the people of Dunkirk are smarter than that.”
Kent said that the Civil Rights Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has reached out to the local chapter. The leader of the division, Dwight Draughn, assistant U.S. attorney, has been invited to a chapter meeting sometime this coming spring to speak about the issue of hate literature.
The weekend incident in Dunkirk is similar to an occurrence during Veteran’s Day weekend in 2018 when several packages of offensive propaganda deemed racist were covertly distributed in several southern and central Calvert County neighborhoods.
Similar distributions have occurred in other states and in other parts of Maryland in recent years.
In late March 2019, racist literature was discovered by residents of two St. Michaels neighborhoods, according to the Maryland State Police Easton Barrack. In that case, while the police documented the occurrence as a “hate incident” per the Maryland Public Safety Act, no evidence was established that it was a hate crime.
The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are one of seven organizations in Maryland identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center — an Alabama-based nonprofit focused on civil rights issues — as a “hate group.”
“I’m surprised more people aren’t saying this is a problem,” said Uribarri, who told Southern Maryland News he and his family moved to Calvert for the good schools.
“The community’s been good so far,” Uribarri said.
“Hate crimes will not be tolerated in Calvert County,” Col. Dave McDowell, assistant sheriff, said Wednesday.
McDowell urged citizens who find similar packages of literature to contact the sheriff’s office immediately at 410-535-2800. He also recommended that anyone who locates such a package to, if possible, avoid handling it so as not to compromise any potential evidence.
Kristen Leitch, a spokeswoman for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, told Southern Maryland News on Wednesday that detectives from the criminal investigations bureau were looking into the complaint.
“After speaking with detectives, this case is currently under investigation. Detectives have consulted with the state’s attorney’s office, but there are no criminal charges at this time,” she said in an email.
As an agency, information is documented and forwarded to the Southern Maryland Information/Intelligence Center, according to Leitch.
The Maryland State Police advises that any hate/bias incident, including literature distributed in the manner it was in Dunkirk, should be reported to local law enforcement. In addition, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center tips line is always available at 1-800-492-TIPS(8477). The information will then be communicated to the appropriate local, state or federal law enforcement agency for follow-up.