Metro Police are investigating how a toy practice target came to be set up in the front yard of a civil rights leader in Nashville on Saturday night. The department has elevated the case to a potential act of intimidation.
The president of the Nashville NAACP, Keith Caldwell, says he considers the bullseye on an easel a threat of some kind. He says he fears for the safety of his children, though he doesn’t want to conclude it’s motivated by racism.
“People are saying that it’s racism or something, and I don’t know that. Even though, yeah, it’s probably a really good chance,” Caldwell says. “But I want the police do their work because I don’t want to feed any flames unnecessarily.”
Metro police issued a statement Monday afternoon identifying Roy E. Brown, 63, as the person who left the target. He was issued a misdemeanor citation for intimidation.
Caldwell says the responding officer initially dismissed the concern, but on Sunday, a supervisor launched an investigation and dusted for fingerprints. Police say they’ve also stepped up patrols in Caldwell’s neighborhood, in the heart of the historically black neighborhoods around Jefferson Street.
“The initial response to the Saturday night call and the interaction between Mr. Caldwell and the first officer is under review,” Metro Police say in a statement.
Caldwell says he knows he could become a target, given his public positions on issues related to civil rights. But he says he has not had any specific, hostile interactions over recent weeks.