A business owner from St. Louis, Missouri, says she and other small business owners are being harassed for displaying flags in support of police officers.
Cherri Elder, the owner of Elder’s Antiques, told KMOV that she and other business owners had formed relationships with the police officers in charge of patrolling the area and wanted to show support for them by displaying an American flag with a blue stripe in front of her business.
But not everyone in the area accepted her flag.
“People came by, they would cuss at you, harass you,” she said, “They would harass the customers.”
Elder removed the flag to avoid further confrontation but found a written threat placed in front of her store a month later.
“Pig supporters not welcome. Flag goes down or you go down,” the message reportedly read.
The letters “MLM,” which stand for the political philosophy Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, were displayed on the right-hand corner of the note.
“I don’t know who’s behind all of this,” said Elder, adding that she is not the only store owner in the area who had been targeted for supporting law enforcement.
KMOV reported that nearby business Delmay Ltd. Antiques, which also displayed a pro-law enforcement flag, had to board up one of its windows after surveillance video showed three teenage boys breaking a window before fleeing the scene.
She is hoping that the police will take action in stopping the perpetrators.
“I want it to come back to some kind of normalcy where people have respect for each other,” she said.
Tensions between law enforcement and minorities is not uncommon in Missouri, especially after a grand jury’s decision in 2014 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, a white man, in the death of Michael Brown, a black man after Brown was shot dead in Ferguson.
Shortly after the grand jury delivered its verdict on the case, rioters vandalized and destroyed many businesses in the area — most of which were minority-owned.