US: Bull’s-eye on NAACP leader’s home lawn prompts probe

Nashville NAACP’s Keith Caldwell says the bull’s-eye is ‘act of intimidation’ against an ‘outspoken’ African American.

Demonstrators showed on the first death anniversary of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, throwing the US's troubled race relations into harsh relief [Kena Betancur/Getty Images]

The head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP) in southern US city of Nashville, Tennessee, said a police officer who responded to his home after a bull’s-eye-like target appeared in his front yard dismissed his concerns. 

Nashville NAACP President Keith Caldwell said in a Facebook post that he found the “bull’s-eye” target on an easel-like holder on his front yard on Saturday night. After Caldwell called the city’s non-emergency police number to file a report, he said the responding officer who arrived at his home was “flippant” about the matter.

After Caldwell told the officer that he was concerned the target was a threat to him and his family, Caldwell said the officer responded by saying that he thought the target “was pretty cool”.

“It felt like to me that he really, he didn’t care,” Caldwell told local news channel WKRN-TV. After speaking with the officer, Caldwell said he then called the officer’s supervisor. 

“I know that it’s an act of intimidation,” Caldwell told The Tennessean newspaper.

“The fact is that I am a Black man, and I am outspoken, and I am the president of the NAACP,” Caldwell said.

“And I’ve said a lot of things that someone who wants to keep people oppressed don’t like.”

Metro Nashville Police Department said in a statement on Sunday the target was from a back yard archery and tomahawk play set designed for children. 

They added that Caldwell is also concerned the target might have been placed in his yard “due to a dispute a member of his family is having with another individual”, the police statement said. The case is being investigated as an incident of intimidation.

A spokesman for Metro Police told local media in a statement: “The threat assessment component of the MNPD’s Specialized Investigations Division [SID] will lead the investigation in an effort to determine who placed the target on the Caldwell property and why. A detective from SID has been in contact with Mr Caldwell today and informed him of their work.”

Police have also started patrolling Caldwell’s neighbourhood with greater frequency. 

Caldwell said the police department has been taking the issue seriously after the responding officer declined to file a police report about the matter. 

“I don’t want to paint the entire police department as a reflection of this one officer,” Caldwell told WKRN-TV.

The interaction between Caldwell and the responding officer is “under review”, the police said in their statement.

Caldwell has been the president of the Nashville NAACP since 2018.

The event comes as racial concerns are back to the forefront of US politics. 

The killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American jogging in a predominately white neighbourhood in Georgia has been described as a “lynching” and prompted a nationwide outcry for justice.

Arbery was killed by two white men. It took more than two months for authorities to make an arrest, which came after a video of Arbery’s death was made public.  

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies