It was "horrible conduct," not criminal, and a prosecutor in Michigan is encouraging the state legislature to consider changing the law so that it would be considered criminal in the future. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Tuesday announced that her office was unable to charge a Grosse Pointe Park man who hung a Ku Klux Klan flag in a window that faced his Black neighbor's house. Worthy said that an ethnic intimidation charge requires there be physical contact, damage, destruction, defacement of property or threats, and none applied in this case. The name of the 31-year-old white man hasn't been released. Neighbor Je Donna Dinges, 57, tells the Washington Post she has a history of friction with the neighbor, and that she didn't feel local police adequately responded to a January incident in which she found a full gas can in her recycling bin. That incident spurred her to install a security camera; the flag was displayed across from it.
After spotting the flag on Feb. 16, she alerted the Michigan attorney general's office and the FBI. Both said no action could be taken, so she turned to social media. Her posts went viral and spurred a march in her support, reports the Detroit Free Press. Local media called the city, and detectives visited the neighbor's home. His girlfriend reportedly told them he couldn't afford curtains and put up the flag to cover the window, citing the security camera. Detectives returned to the home with new curtains and the flag came down. "It's comical," Dinges said. "You can afford a Klan flag but you can't afford curtains? He does this awful thing and you give him a gift with my tax dollars." In a statement, Worthy called it a "despicable, traumatizing, and completely unacceptable" act on the part of the neighbor and urged the legislature "to look [at], revise, and create laws to protect citizens from this kind of horrible conduct." (Read more racial tension stories.)