By Elizabeth Bonin, Staff Writer
(June 25, 2020) Residents of Ocean Pines, Berlin and West Ocean City found racially charged literature from the Klu Klux Klan on their property last Thursday, the Ocean Pines Police Department and Worcester County Sheriff’s Office confirmed this week.
Ocean Pines Police Chief Dave Massey said the literature was a racist narrative found in small bags in front of resident’s houses. He said it was clear that they were thrown from a car, which quickly left.
“As much as we dislike negative speech and what it stands for, according to our constitution, we have to allow people to give views, even if they’re reprehensive,” Massey said.
He added that national events probably stirred up a “lunatic fringe.”
Protests advocating for Black Lives Matter and the dismantling of police departments have been taking place globally since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd, who was black, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer.
According to Massey, he has never heard of KKK activity in Worcester County in his 17 years as a police chief.
“This is a very isolated incident,” Massey said. “It’s obvious that people came in and threw them and left to try to stir up negativity.”
He said he didn’t want to give the group publicity, but felt that it was necessary since word of the incident had spread on social media.
“I believe this is still the greatest country in the world – the fact that we allow free speech,” Massey said.
Ashley Miller, public information officer for Ocean City Police Department, said resort officers had also found racially charged notes in small bags, but that they may not necessarily be attributed to a specific organization.
Lt. Katie Edgar said the sheriff’s office has not received additional reports since then. The office had no further information and is currently investigating the incident.
Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing said that none of the racist literature was found within the corporate limits of Berlin. He added that he had seen a similar situation in Worcester and Delaware about two years ago.