WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Antisemitic flyers were thrown into people's yard and driveways in the Old Northwood neighborhood Saturday, the second time messaged were distributed in the area in a few months.
People responsible for throwing flyers from a rented U-Haul were issued citations, West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said.
The messages came in plastic bags with pellets.
"I think it's a violation of people's property and their space and infringing upon their beliefs, in a way," a resident told WPTV.
West Palm Beach police said they believe upwards of 100 flyers were distributed.
"The stuff that was written about in these little packages, it was disgusting, it was vile, it was clearly antisemitic," another resident said Saturday evening.
In addition to antisemitic messages, some of the papers specifically mention and express opposition to HB 269. The bill is currently being discussed by the Florida Legislature and aims to make certain antisemitic acts, like the one Saturday, a hate crime.
"We understand freedom of expression, we understand First Amendment rights and, while we may not agree with things, we certainly have no place for hate in West Palm Beach," Jachles said Saturday.
Jachles said officers were able to track down the five individuals responsible for throwing the flyers shortly after they left the neighborhood. He said officers conducted a traffic stop on a rented U-Haul truck in downtown West Palm Beach.
Each person in the car was issued multiple citations, including littering and pedestrian violations.
Jachles also said three of the individuals live in Florida, and two of them have address located on Okeechobee Boulevard.
"These are not nice people," he said. "They started calling our officers different names."
Although no arrests were made, Jachles emphasized the importance of providing the police department with information regarding the flyers. He said each statement they receive from residents about unwanted material in their yard could be considered an additional littering violation, costing the person responsible upwards of $150.
"If they feel they are being targeted, if they've received this and don't know what to do and they want us to purse it, they can call the West Palm Beach police number," Jachles said.
The non-emergency line can be reached at 561-822-1900.