Home News Hate group targets Vero Beach with second wave of antisemitic flyers

Hate group targets Vero Beach with second wave of antisemitic flyers

Hate group targets Vero Beach with second wave of antisemitic flyers

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Vero Beach residents said they felt victim to a hate crime and hate speech when their Sunday movie nights and Monday morning routines were marred by another round of antisemitic flyers found outside their homes.

Sunday night the flyers were tossed from a pickup truck onto lawns and doorsteps of homes in neighborhoods off State Road 60. They promoted anti-Jewish conspiracies as well as the website of the Goyim Defense Lespangue whose users stream videos of white supremacist and antisemitic content filled with racist slurs and Nazi imagery.

Its founder publicly announced a move from California to Florida last December while other founding members were known to live in the Port St. Lucie area, spanccording to the Anti-Defspanmspantion Lespangue.

The ADL, which bills itself as the “leading anti-hate organization in the world” with a stated mission to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” was also the target behind the naming of the Goyim Defense League, or GDL.

“Between 2020 and mid-2022 we saw over 400 instances of antisemitic and extremist flyering throughout (the state),” said Lonny Wilk, a regional director of ADL Florida. “We’re calling for all elected officials and public officials to denounce antisemitism and all expressions of bigotry firmly, clearly and frequently. There must be no tolerance for those who wish to intimidate and harass entire communities.”

‘Not the way you treat people’

Mary Lou Calhoun lives in the McAnsh Park area near the Vero Beach Regional Airport and said a flyer was found in her yard around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

She said she had neighbors visiting for a movie night when it was found.

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“That’s not the way you treat people,” she said. “I had a Jewish friend here with me – we’re in a movie club together eating pizza and watching movies.”

Several other residents in her neighborhood also received flyers Calhoun said, adding it was the first time in the area, “ever having any hate speech thrown about.”

“It was really disappointing.”

She said people in her community had plans to make signs against hate and discrimination, and paint messages on rocks to leave in the area.

“I don’t want any neighbor to think that they aren’t welcome here – or that they live close to anybody that’s OK with that,” she said. “We want to respond to the people with love that’s being targeted.”

The GDL group last targeted the Vero Beach area in a similar flyer distributing operation in June 2022. Police then described it as “definitely antisemitic, definitely hate speech and definitely a first time for us.”

On Monday, Vero Beach police shared images of the flyer on Facebook asking the public for information about the incident. A spokesperson said Tuesday evening they were still gathering information and don’t have anything to go on at this time.

Spokesperson Kelsea Marty said, “We’re definitely investigating,” and asked anyone with any video footage from their Ring (surveillance camera) or home security system to send it to the Police Department.

“Before we can decide any type of charges, we have to figure out who’s sending them out so we can speak to them and see what their intent is,” said Marty.

An Indian River County Sheriff’s Office investigation into last summer’s incident was closed without any action taken by law enforcement who deemed the case, “unfounded.”

In its investigative conclusion detectives declared, “Civil liberties and speech rights are protected by the Constitution, whereas, the flyers collected did not depict any direct threat, however, did make recipients of the literature uncomfortable.”

Lt. Joe Abollo said they have no active investigation into the latest incident.

Flyers were also found on Cortez Avenue by residents Jerry Morris and his wife Karen who saw one as she left for work Monday morning.

Jerry Morris said it was the first time in his 12 years at the home, and “we’re hoping it’ll be the last time.”

“This type of hatred can only be considered evil and any person who spreads this hatred has no place in a civil society,” Morris said by email.

Flyers prior in Palm Beach County

GDL members were last known to be responsible for similar incidents to those in Vero Beach, in the Palm Beach area on Jan. 28 where they were issued littering citations.

“We did encounter them in a rented pickup truck (and) they were driving around throwing the flyers from the truck,” said Town of Palm Beach Police Department spokesperson Capt. Will Rothrock.

On Jan. 21 they were stopped in Palm Beach County by Atlantis Police Department in which one person was arrested.

“We tried to do the same thing and issue a civil citation for litter the subject refused to identify himself,” said Atlantis Police Chief Robert Mangold.

Its members were also responsible for a separate flyer incident in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, he said.



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