A Mobile city councilman who has publicly advocated for removing the word “race” from municipal forms received a letter this week he described as “racist” and “threatening.” The letter appears to be from a former Mobile Police Department (MPD) officer.
Councilman Fred Richardson, one of the city’s three African American council members, said today he believes his push for an ordinance that would replace the word “race” with the word “ethnicity” on all city forms led to a letter he described as “hate mail.”
Richardson shared a portion of the correspondence on his personal Facebook page Friday evening. It included a picture of the Confederate battle flag and said “the White race is fed up.” It also went on to allude to an “open season on negroes, anarchists and leftist politicians.”
The author also derided the tearing down of items connected to the Confederacy, which has been occurring in cities across the country over the past few weeks. Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office did recently remove a statue of former Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes, but neither Richardson nor any other member of the Mobile City Council was involved in that decision.
Speaking to Lagniappe, Richardson said the letter has inspired him to work even harder to get his “race” ordinance passed. The council has already held one Administrative Services Committee meeting on the proposal and will likely hold another before making a final decision.
“I need to fight harder … this ignorance has to stop,” he said. “I’m not afraid. I shared [the letter on Facebook] to show the community the depth of what is in people’s hearts.”
On Saturday, Richardson said he is still contemplating taking the letter to the FBI to see if it warrants any kind of criminal investigation. He also said this is not the first letter he’s received from the man who signed the correspondence.
Richardson confirmed the letter was signed by a man named Tom Trott. It should also be noted reporters at this publication have received letters that appear to be from Trott as well — almost all of which were critical of reporting Trott deemed to be too favorable to African Americans. In some of those letters, Trott has identified himself as a former MPD officer. A source with MPD was able to confirm a “Thomas Trott” was employed with the department from 1971 to 1989.
At a Mobile City Council meeting on Tuesday, councilors debated a revised “race” ordinance that would exempt documents in which the information is needed at the county, state and federal levels of government. The council delayed a vote on the ordinance for two weeks.
Reporter Jason Johnson contributed to this story.
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