Fourth family receives racial threat on Tremont street west 12th

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 21:53.

Fourth family receives racial threat on Tremont street

Posted By:   Posted By: DickRuss [at] wkyc [dot] com?subject=viewer question about an article&body=Link:http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=106805     Updated: 2/8/2009 9:04:42 AM  Posted: 2/6/2009 6:10:29 PM

CLEVELAND -- Extra police patrols are on duty on a Cleveland street after a fourth family received an ugly racial threat in the mail.

The latest threat appeared in the mailbox of a family on West 12th Street last Saturday. The letter, signed with swastikas and white power symbols, threatened to burn down the family's house if they did not move out within 30 days. The family is African-American.

"Get out in 30 days or burn out," is what the resident, who did not want to be identified, told Channel 3 News the letter said.

He went on to describe more of the letter's contents: "The house next door to your house was my first work, and also I broke into your garage. Get out, n*****, or burn out. Thirty days."

The house next to the man who received the latest threat was burned down by an arsonist in July, 2007. The family got out safely. A second house had been set on fire a few doors down a month earlier. That family escaped those flames and the house has since been repaired.

Then in July, 2008 the home of councilman Joe Cimperman was torched. He and his family and his downstairs tenants escaped with their lives.

This fourth threat of arson has some residents of West 12th Street on edge again.

"You should be free to live anywhere you want to. Who's to say you can't live on this street," says Gwendolyn English, who has lived on West 12th for 12 years. She is concerned for the safety of the family which received the latest threat.

"You know if somebody threatens you and puts a letter in the mail, who's to say they won't carry out their threats," English said. "So you have to take threats seriously."

The FBI is taking this fourth racial threat very seriously and says the letter itself already amounts to a hate crime.

"We're going to do whatever we can to identify the person or those persons involved in these threats in this neighborhood," says Scott Wilson, Special Agent of the Cleveland FBI.

"Because we've had three arsons, three homes that have been burned. And certainly there have been threats that have been made to many of the residents."

The man who received the latest threatening letter said he has moved his children from their bedrooms to another part of the house so they might more easily escape in case the house is set on fire.

"What a way to live," he told Channel 3 News.

Councilman Cimperman was outraged over the latest threat. "Whoever you are we are going to find you and put you in jail," Cimperson announced, who has referred to the arsonist as a terrorist, an animal, and a weed.

"You've got to hope the person behind this is an individual and acting alone. This city and this councilman is not going to stand for his residents, be they African-American, Caucasian, or whatever, being terrorized by someone without the courage to sign their name."

Cimperman said Cleveland Police immediately put extra patrols on duty to watch the neighborhood.

"We're telling people to be aware, to watch for suspicious characters," Cimperman said. "It's 2009 and we cannot tolerate this kind of terrorism."

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