An unknown suspect placed a menacing note and a dead racoon at the door to Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch's law firm offices on Monday morning, and the Redmond Police Department is investigating it as a potential bias crime. The sign referenced both Fitch and Redmond City Councilor Clifford Evelyn with what police say is intimidating language.
"I can't go into detail, but it obviously had some hateful language in there, references on race. It's unfortunate because it's not really reflective of what our community is. But we always have some whackos out there who do what they do," Fitch said.
The Redmond Police Department said the crime is being investigated as a potential bias crime in the second degree. That designation includes property crimes that cause substantial inconvenience to another person based on race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national orientation.
"The Redmond Police Department has no tolerance for hate speech of any kind, against any person or group," Redmond Police Chief Devin Lewis said in a press release. "We will work swiftly to resolve this case and seek to hold those who did this to our community responsible," states Police Chief Devin Lewis.
Redmond Police are asking anyone who may know who is responsible or witnessed any suspicious activity near the offices to report it to their non-emergency phone number. Neither Evelyn nor Fitch elaborated on the message of the letter, saying it could jeopardize a police investigation. Both expressed disappointment in the action but said it's not indicative of Redmond and of the work the City Council is doing.
"Redmond is moving in a positive direction, and we want to keep it on that course. We're not going to be distracted by outside events, things like that, that's all that is, is a distraction. And we're going to ignore the distractions and just stay the course," Evelyn said.
Several groups called for supporters to support the city councilors at a special meeting on June 6. Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler and two Bend city councilors denounced the behavior and called for people to attend the June 6 meeting. Building Redmond's Future, a political action committee dedicated to civic education, also called for people to attend the meeting to show support.
"This is not Redmond, but it will be if we do not show up and voice our outrage. Our City Council needs our support," Building Redmond's Future founder Adam DuQuette wrote in a call to action. "Let our numbers speak loudest. The more from our community that shows up, even if we do not have a chance to speak, the stronger our support. I am calling on every person to cancel plans (as I have) and show up to tomorrow night's meeting in a show of support and solidarity for our City Council."
There's no public comment on the agenda for the meeting, though in recent months, the public comment periods at the Redmond City Council meetings have become iincreasingly politicized. In March, Fitch paused a meeting during a raucous public comment section after the Deschutes County Republic Party Chairman and People's Rights member Scott Stuart referred to Evelyn by name.