Black residents of a town outside of Detroit say they don’t feel safe after a KKK flag was hung near the home of JeDonna Dinges and her family. Last month, Dinges reported seeing the flag in a neighbor’s window facing her home in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.
During a virtual city council meeting, Dinges told officials she did not feel safe because of how the situation was handled. Residents also challenged the competency of the acting director of the Public Safety Department, according to The Detroit News.
As reported by NewsOne, Dinges observed the flag approximately a month after finding a full gas can in her trash. She reported another incident where she was startled after the same neighbor was shooting in his backyard. The neighbor’s name has not been released.
Kim Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, declined to pursue charges. While traumatizing for the family, displaying a hateful symbol alone was not considered a violation under state law. According to Worthy, a charge of ethnic intimidation required evidence of actual contact with an individual or their property.
But during the city council meeting, Dinges said the lack of diversity in the police force prevented the department from properly handling her case.
“It was lost on everyone in the police department, because there’s nobody Black that works there … the significance of me finding gasoline, then finding a Klan flag in the window four weeks later,” she told The Detroit News.
A lieutenant with the Public Safety Department, James Bostock, has been the interim director. Residents said they wanted to have more public input in the hiring process for the new director.
Some residents told the city to adjust its practices.
“This would help to open up conversation in regards to the experiences of your residents of color, including the recent actions that have happened against the Dinges family,” shared organizer Dez Squire.
For now, the city manager says that patrols have been assigned to watch the Dignes’ home. The Detroit News reported the department is scheduled to undergo racial awareness, implicit bias, and cultural competency training. The course will be led by a former officer.