PORTLAND, Maine — Hate mail containing homophobic slurs and death threats that targeted residents in the Portland area last week may be linked to a round of mailings that began circulating there as early as October 2020, police say.
Residents at seven households in Portland’s Deering and Brighton neighborhoods received letters beginning last week. The letters bore a rendering of the Satanic Temple logo over a rainbow flag with a death threat.
Police are comparing the latest spree of hate letters against similar mailings targeting residents in October, which invited recipients to meet for a discussion on political and social justice at the house of a family on Capisic Street, according to police.
But the event was a hoax.
“It definitely wasn’t positive, or for positive discussions,” Portland police spokesperson Robert Martin said.
The family at the Capisic Street address was not aware of the letters, he said, and police believe they also were likely targets because they displayed emblems about political and social justice issues during the election season.
Many who received hate mail were posting signs supporting Black Lives Matter, flying LGBTQ Pride flags and publicly displaying phrases like, “We Believe in Science,” Martin said.
All of the letters were sent through the United States Postal Service.
Police do not suspect that they were sent by an organized group.
“The City of Portland is a very welcoming and tolerant community, yet we have no tolerance for those who choose to spread hate and fear from the shadows,” said Chief Frank Clark. “We continue to investigate the source of these disconcerting letters, and are asking for the public’s assistance to pull back the curtain on the person responsible for these mailings.”