PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Residents in one Park Ridge neighborhood say they are disgusted and disturbed by the messages of hate that showed up near their doorsteps earlier this week.
According to local police, the distribution of the antisemitic messages was not isolated to the area but spread across the country.
Cindy Delmedico is a Park Ridge resident.
“Children are walking by from school and they see that and I’m sure they don’t really understand what that is anyways,” Delmedico said.
At first glance, resident Erin Davis said the plastic sandwich bag enclosed with a sheet of paper seemed harmless.
“I thought it was just a normal political flyer that we receive pretty frequently,” Davis said.
A closer look revealed a message laced with hate.
“I think it’s a horrible thing that’s happening in our neighborhood,” Davis said.
The antisemitic handouts weighed down with rice include the phrase “Let’s go Brandon,” an expression used to insult President Joe Biden. Pictures of several key officials serving with the president are shown next to images of the Israeli flag.
Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney says the messages don’t represent the community, calling the hate messages disappointing and frustrating.
“Generally, the feedback is that the folks responsible for this need to crawl back under the rock from where they came,” Maloney said.
Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski says his department first received calls about the flyers early Sunday morning. He says one person filed a report regarding the hateful messages isolated to the northern part of the community. Chief Kaminski says other suburbs nearby are dealing with the same problem.
“Similar flyers were distributed in other surrounding communities around here,” Kaminski said.
Police in Niles told WGN News that some of their residents have filed reports after spotting the pamphlets and similar antisemitic messages have been reported across the country.
“The phrase that comes to mind is ‘tolerance of intolerance is cowardice,’ so no one in this town is tolerating it,” Maloney said.
The handouts include the link to a website with antisemitic content but at this point, local authorities don’t know who delivered the hate-filled baggies. Police ask anyone with information, including locals with security cam video that can help track down the person(s) responsible, to contact them.
“We should be celebrating diversity and loving one another,” Davis says, “instead of dropping terrible things off on people’s doorsteps.”