People outraged over offensive flyers in Southfield

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - Residents are outraged after offensive flyers started circulating in a neighborhood along Jeannette St. in Southfield.

One shows a police officer wearing a white hood, pointing a gun at a young kid wearing a hoodie with a Confederate Flag in the background. The child can be seen holding candy.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s horrible. It’s 2015,” said neighbor Monique Whigman. “Why are we still going through this?”

The flyer asks residents to vote for three white candidates in the city of Southfield.

“To use Trayvon Martin definitely offensive,” said neighbor Damon Smith. “That was a big issue in the African American community, still is with the Black Lives Matter, things like that going on.”

Another flyer said, “Let’s get the blacks out of Southfield in November.”

It shows pictures of the white candidates, and pictures of two city officials who are not even running for office.

There is no evidence that any of them are behind the racist propaganda. The race of the person or persons responsible is not clear, but either way neighbors here find it distasteful and insulting.

“We’re not stupid as African Americans, we're not stupid,” said Smith. “To throw this out, these people are racists don’t vote for them. Number one thing, people who are racists aren’t up in your face racists. There’s only so many. Especially political people. So they are going to go behind the scenes. They’re not going to say I’m a racist, don’t vote for me.

“If it was sponsored by somebody or trying to get somebody to vote, then that would be different, but it’s just bad,” said Aaron Whigham. “Bad taste any way it goes.”

Neighbors suspect the person passing out the flyers is an outsider.

“There is always a mixture of Jewish, black, white people in this neighborhood,”  said Smith. “It is coward of them to use race or try to stir up any kind of hate, you know among different races. You know, it’s just cowardly.  I wasn’t raised like that I have all type of nationalities in my family.”

“We haven’t had any problems,” said Aaron Whigham.  “Everybody over here talks to each other.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s crazy to see this or even hear about this.”

The City of Southfield released the following statement about the flyers on Monday: 

The City of Southfield is proud to be a diverse community that is inclusive of all people. Southfield elected officials, staff and residents of numerous ethnic and religious backgrounds work effectively together every day to maintain the high quality of life that we have all come to expect and appreciate. No Southfield elected officials or staff condone this type of negative, deconstructive and harmful propaganda that is both unfounded and untrue.

Our community is strong, inclusive and celebrates diversity,” commented Mayor Donald Fracassi in a news release. “We as a community are appalled that this type of reprehensible material has been distributed. We stand together unified as Southfielders against racism of any kind. This type of material does not represent Southfield or the views of our residents who live peacefully together in harmony from virtually all walks of life.”

“For the past 50 years, the city of Southfield has been an exemplary example of diversity and cultural inclusiveness,” added Council President Sylvia Jordan in the news release. “Southfield is a wonderful melting pot of families from all cultures who are seeking a great place to call home. It is personally heartbreaking to me to see that someone thinks so little of our community, and our progress, that they would take it upon themselves to attempt to create this false divide.”

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