The Opelika Police Department is searching for the person who made “racially inflammatory” Facebook posts and threats involving the Lee County Fair.
“Opelika Police take threats like these very seriously and appreciate the public sharing this information with us,” the OPD stated in a release. “We will not share these posts and give this individual the attention they are clearly seeking.”
The fair is scheduled for Oct. 4-8, and the OPD is in contact with fair organizers.
Officers were already hired to be present at the venue, and because of the posted threats, additional officers will be present to ensure the safety of fair attendees, according to the OPD statement.
Jim Sadler, president of the Lee County Fair Association, said he has “complete confidence” in the Opelika police to keep citizens safe.
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“The fair is on private property,” Sadler said. “We have hired police as security and they will be there. There’s no weapons allowed on the property. We do what we can to deter any violence. We like for it to remain a family atmosphere.”
Sadler said a similar threat was made last year. “Thankfully nothing materialized and I hope that’s the case now too,” he said.
Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey said his department has reached out to the social media platform to try to determine the owner of the account and have also contacted the FBI for assistance during the investigation.
“Based on the posts and the information in the post, it would fall under some hate crime legislation, which we may potentially end up turning over to the FBI to prosecute,” Healey said. “With the speech that’s in those posts, that would definitely fall under hate crime.”
Healey said the OPD will continue to monitor social media chatter to see if anything else develops.