In recent weeks, fliers with what police and officials describe as hateful speech have turned up in Rockville and Chevy Chase.
Rockville police have found fliers that they described as “white national propaganda” along a stretch of Great Falls Road and West Montgomery Avenue in four incidents since July. Each time, officers have located one or two papers hung on street signs or telephone poles that address white people and warn of “heritage and culture … being ripped away” and the “Jewish media’s indoctrination.”
In Chevy Chase last week, a Jewish family found an anti-Semitic pamphlet on their front door. Written in words that are printed in different directions on the page, the flier includes screeds against Jews, connecting them to Hurricane Harvey and plans of world dominance.
The papers found in the two communities do not appear to be connected, but Rockville and Chevy Chase officials said they are taking them seriously.
“Obviously, they’re very, very alarming and we’re keeping track of them,” said Sgt. Bill Nieberding with the criminal investigations unit of Rockville police. “I guess in today’s day and age, you can argue that there’s a lot of different hate speech. Some is very direct that says, ‘kill so and so,’ or ‘I hate this,’ or whatever. This one seems to be some bizarre propaganda.”
Nieberding said the department is recording the fliers as hate crime information. Police do not know left the fliers, but patrol officers have been advised to look out for people who might be putting them up.
The fliers includes the web address of a site run by Patriot Front, an organization that advocates for a “New American Nation State” and promotes “American Fascism” as a “a return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”
A message sent to a contact email address for the group was not immediately returned on Tuesday.
Joel Rubin, a community liaison with the Town Council of Chevy Chase, said a Jewish family reported the flier they found to town officials after someone put it on their door Sept. 4. Town officials later reported the incident to county police.
Rubin, who is Jewish, said it broke his heart to see a family targeted for their religious beliefs. The town plans to organize a discussion for residents as a response, he said.
“We don’t have anything historically in Chevy Chase that would lead one to feel unsecure or targeted,” he said. “This is out of the norm, but it’s a sign of the times, I guess.”
Hate crimes have been a continuing concern for Rockville and the county after a rise in reported incidents last year.
Among other incidents, police have investigated an anti-Semitic note left for a Rockville family in January and fliers promoting a white supremacist group found in April at the Montgomery County Council Building in Rockville. The fliers listed the organization as Vanguard America, but included the same web address found in the Great Falls Road incidents.
A databased compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, lists two in Montgomery County: Heritage and Destiny and Council of Conservative Citizens. Both are labeled as white nationalist organizations in Silver Spring.