CAPE CORAL — James Schneider, who is running for city council in Cape Coral, has been targeted by the KKK for being gay.
Schneider has received several threatening notes on his doorstep from the Ku Klos Knights, a division of the Ku Klux Klan.
“We know where you live f—-t. We are going to win. Quit now. When you girls least expect it, we will be here for a nice visit,” one letter read.
Schneider, 54, who has been married for 17 years, moved to Cape Coral four years ago from Annapolis, Maryland, and has been the town’s planning and zoning commissioner for the past three years.
After receiving the note, which featured a drawing of a hooded Klansman and contact information for the KKK, Schneider contacted the police.
“The incident to which you are referring, involving a flyer placed on a resident’s door, is an active/open investigation,” a Cape Coral Police Department spokesperson said. “As such, I won’t be able to get into detail at this time.”
“In this incident, the only connection to the KKK thus far, is unverified claims of affiliation by the flyer’s author. We have not had any significant incidents of organized hate groups committing criminal activity in Cape Coral,” the spokesperson added.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) would disagree with that assessment. Cape Coral is listed on their Hate Map, which shows that the KKK is active in the area.
The police, however, have tried to downplay the SPLC report, saying, “The SPLC is listing Cape Coral only because a subject that listed they lived in Cape Coral on the KKK’s website was selling KKK memorabilia online last year.”
On Wednesday, Schneider posted the menacing letters to his Facebook page, adding, “So here it is… They got their opportunity to scare us, but not quitting this election. I am the qualified candidate, not the popular one.”
Schneider also wrote, “We are shaken but not beaten. Watch for details in the coming days. Thank you so much for those who have huddled around us at this time. We live in a messed-up country.”
Schneider’s opponent in the election, Dave Stokes, has defended his fellow candidate.
“In the news today, it was reported that my opponent received a flyer from a hate group last weekend. I publicly denounce this and all hate groups and hope the Police/FBI catch and prosecute this person to the full extent of the law,” Stokes said.
The police department has declined to label the incident a hate crime. Schneider disagrees though.
“It is a hate crime,” Schneider said. “I’m a gay, Jewish, German man. I’m running for political office. They used the term (slur). They used the term girls. These are heated, hateful words. I can’t think of anything else to say, other than I believe it is hate.
“We are intelligent people. We came here to live a good life. We’ve lived here for four years. We’ve added additional surveillance with video cameras. All of our windows are locked. All of our doors are locked. All of our neighbors are leaving their lights on, because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he added.