Police in Asheville, North Carolina, have received a threatening letter via email from “ANTIFA” saying that the left-wing militant group may be planning violent protests in the area.
According to local news outlets, Samantha Booth, with the Asheville Police Department, said that the department received what she called “a concerning email” Sunday morning about possible upcoming demonstrations that the police had reason to believe could turn violent.
The disturbing email, which was addressed to the chief of police, began with “Greetings from ANTIFA.”
The email demanded that police provide safety to all protesters, “whether they are armed or unarmed.”
Booth related to the press that “The email threatens that the police department would be met with ‘further action’ if certain demands are not met.” She said that the ‘further action’ is not specified in the email, but the language was enough to cause concern.
Indeed, the email did get more ominous, concluding by saying, “This is your first and only formal warning.”
The department is in the process of vetting the authenticity of the email, Booth said.
Asheville police Chief David Zack released this statement about the menacing email.
“While Asheville prides itself on protecting free speech rights as well as people and property, the email received today runs counter to that spirit.”
“As we continue to protect the public, we are asking for help from community members, demonstrators, and elected officials: if you see or hear any evidence of someone who is intent on committing violence, destroying property, or breaking any state laws or city ordinances, please report that information to the police.”
Booth added that the Asheville Police Department’s role in any demonstration is to make sure that the first amendment rights of demonstrators are protected and that laws are followed.
“We have done that in the past and will continue to do so in future demonstrations,” she said.
Booth said there has been no planned permitted demonstration filed with the city of Asheville, which would be the proper process.
Fortunately, the Independence Day holiday came and went without incident.
“However, intelligence gathered suggest the potential of a demonstration gathering in the days ahead,” said Booth.