Police are investigating the antisemitic message Mayor Ron Feinsod received Saturday.
Police are investigating a hate email a Jewish Florida mayor received Saturday that told him to kill himself, according to a local report on Tuesday.
The Venice Gondolier reported that an anonymous message sent to Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod contained various antisemitic slurs and said that Jews should leave Florida and the USA, among other statements.
The email was “concerning to us,” said Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe, and assured the public that the authorities were “looking into it” even though there was no direct threat issued in the letter.
“We will take it to any point we can,” Thorpe said.
A city server email said the police were working with municipal computer experts to see if they can find where the email came from.
Around 1,500 Jews live in Venice, on Florida’s Gulf coast south of Tampa.
Feinsod had just condemned an antisemitic incident last week that occurred in his city. More than 150 Venice residents had found hate messages that had been thrown onto their lawns and driveways over a single night.
The pages, enclosed in plastic bags and weighted down with popcorn kernels, featured head shots of top Disney World executives with stars of David stamped on their foreheads. The message read: “Every single aspect of Disney childgrooming is Jewish. Protect your children.”
The warning was connected to a recent law passed in the state that forbade teaching children below fourth grade about sexual orientation and gender identity, which the company had protested as being anti-LGBTQ.
“It’s upsetting to me, I am of the Jewish faith,” said Feinsod in reaction. “Our country fought in World War II against what we are now fighting for in our own country, which is hate.”
The police have said that both the flyers and the email did not constitute criminal offenses, although the incidents are being taken seriously.
Hundreds of people in several other cities across southern Florida had received the same material in the same way.
On Wednesday, The Daily Sun reported that police in Punta Gorda, about 37 miles from Venice, believe they know who is responsible for the antisemitic flyers, but cannot make an arrest since the suspect’s actions did not cross the line into criminal behavior.
The Punta Gorda city council has therefore proposed charging the hatemonger with a civil offense: littering.
“Al Capone didn’t go to jail for murder, he went to jail for tax evasion,” said council member Mark Kuharski, who had received one of the bagged flyers himself. “So, if we can’t get them one way, we’ll get them another way.”
The paper noted that the fine for littering could be as high as $5,000 per offense.