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PD: No punishment for KKK doorbell ring in Anthem

Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 16:59:25-05

ANTHEM, AZ  — An Anthem teenager who rang a doorbell wearing a KKK robe will not be arrested.

The incident happened three days after Valentine's Day. Authorities were able to track down the teen and his friends, but told ABC15 no crime was committed.

The persons of interest were all 18 or 19 years old. Only one of them was wearing the hateful costume.

"It was fear mainly, it scared me. Then [I felt] anger," said the homeowner, who did not want to be identified.

The mother said her son went to the same high school as the teens. She quickly shared the video with her community and contacted the Phoenix Police Hate Crimes unit.

"We were able to identify the people that were involved in this, and had conversations," said Sgt. Vince Lewis. "The reaction from them was pure ignorance."

Detectives determined that the teens responsible were not part of a larger KKK chapter and did not understand the threatening and violent rhetoric behind the outfit.

"They thought it was going to be a funny joke. Clearly, it was not," said Sgt. Lewis.

Police said because there was no specific threat, and the teens were not warned about trespassing, "it did not rise to the level of a crime."

"I think something should’ve been done. I think, 'just don’t ever do it again,' is not enough," said the homeowner.

"If there are no consequences, they’re not going to learn anything. They should apologize to those people," said neighbor Rosalia.

Detectives said they talked to all the teens and their parents. They said whatever punishment happens at home is private.

The homeowner and police hope the teens learn a lesson though and realize how fortunate they are with a peaceful ending.

"It could’ve ended up costing somebody’s life, and that’s the scary part," said the homeowner.

The act alone could be considered more along the lines of a physical threat, intimidation, even terrorism.

“We commend the City of Phoenix Police Department for their diligence in pursuing this case. We said it then and repeat it again: there’s no place for hate in our Arizona communities," said Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Regional Director for ADL Arizona.

If you want to report a hate crime in the city of Phoenix, you can do so through the city's website here.