Hate Hoax? Black Woman Charged with Making Terroristic Threats After Allegedly Pretending to Be White Male KKK Member
In March, WGCL-TV in Atlanta reported on a series of incidents in the suburb of Douglasville in which families were receiving letters from “a local racist who is hoping to spread fear.”
“I received one two days ago, and I was alarmed at what I read,” one father told the station.
“The letter is using the N-word, talking about the KKK, hanging people, killing kids, killing whole families, and setting houses on fire,” he said, adding that he had given the letter to police, who had hoped to find forensic evidence on the note.
Other residents had told the station they’d received similar notes starting in December; on one street alone, at least seven black families reportedly had been targeted.
In arguably the least shocking update this story could have received, police say the incidents are a hoax — that the perpetrator is a 30-year-old black woman named Terresha Lucas who identified as a 6-foot white man with a red beard and as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
WGCL reported Thursday that Lucas, a Douglasville resident, was arrested and charged this week with making terroristic threats to residents on Manning Drive in the Georgia city from Dec. 21, 2020, to Sept. 6 of this year.
Douglasville police said in a Facebook post that they “received the break they needed on Labor Day, Sept. 6, when evidence was found linking the notes to the house of Terresha Lucas. Detectives said they were able to gather enough evidence to obtain a search warrant.”
For 11 months, black families in an Atlanta suburb were terrorized w/letters from someone saying they’re a white KKK member who will burn the houses & kill them. Following an extensive investigation, police charged Terresha Lucas, a black woman. #HateHoax https://t.co/eCpOLefnoJ
— Andy Ngô ?️? (@MrAndyNgo) October 1, 2021
“During the search, detectives found other evidence which ties the suspect to the incidents,” the statement continued.
Police said the notes all had similar handwriting, tone and verbiage, leading them to the conclusion they were all written by one person.
The notes said they were from a 6-foot white man with a long, red beard. In initial reportage on the notes, no one seemed particularly concerned about the fact that hate criminals don’t usually identify themselves if they’re leaving anonymous letters in neighbors’ mailboxes.
What would have been surprising in an incident as brazen and blatant as this is if the suspect arrested hadn’t been a minority.
Take a high-profile case of racist graffiti at Emory University in Atlanta. In August, the Emory Autism Center was hit with a burglar who left behind racial slurs and a swastika.
“These acts of racism and antisemitism are painful for all of us at the EAC and in the Emory community. They will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice. Our priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our faculty, staff, learners, patients and their families, and upholding our values and Emory’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” the university said in a statement.
“As we heal in the days and weeks ahead, it is important that we continue to support and provide strength to one another. Our goal will remain to provide an environment and a learning community focused on each other and maintaining an inclusive society where everyone’s identity is valued and celebrated.”
On Sept. 22, the university announced the arrest of Roy Lee Gordon Jr. on a charge of second-degree burglary. That statement was much drier, save for a pro forma statement about how racism and anti-Semitism remain “painful for the entire Emory community.”
Unmentioned were Gordon’s race or prior employment history. According to WGCL, he’s black and a former part-time employee of the Emory Autism Center.
In the St. Louis metro area, Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri, was the site of a student walkout after racist graffiti was discovered in bathrooms last week.
“The walkout at Parkway Central was organized on social media on Wednesday evening, students said, by those fed up with similar incidents. Students stood outside the administrative building on campus on Wednesday, chanting ‘no justice, no peace’ and passing around a megaphone to share their experiences with prejudice at school,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sept. 24.
“Students at the rally circled around Principal Tim McCarthy and yelled questions and complaints through a megaphone, some cursing at him, asking how school policies would change to discourage racist behavior.”
The reason for the invective apparently was a supposed pattern of racist incidents at the school: “We just absorb it, most of us,” senior Ronald Griffin told the Post-Dispatch. “There’s a ton of people that act friendly, but then you hear about things people have said … off to the side.”
“It’s messed up, and it’s not funny,” said senior Joe Siervo. “We want to see a change … but this happens every year.”
This past Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch reported a black student had admitted to writing the graffiti. A participant in the walkout called it “embarrassing” but said it didn’t diminish their message.
However, as the newspaper noted, this was the second time in recent years that the school has seen a hate-crime hoax; in 2017, a non-white student eventually admitted to writing “White Lives Matter” in a bathroom.
And these, it’s worth noting, are just the arrests made in September. Given that, the only real shock here would have been if Douglasville, Georgia, police had found a 6-foot-tall Klansman with a red beard.
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