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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Local business receives hate-filled phone call

Prerecorded message uses death of Mollie Tibbetts to promote white-nationalism
Aug 31, 2018
Photo by: Karyn Spory Cafe Dodici owner Tsalika Rich was sickened when she opened the cafe on Tuesday, Aug. 28, and discovered a phone message using Mollie Tibbetts’ death to promote white nationalism. Similar messages have been reported being received in the Des Moines area.

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


As the owners of Cafe Dodici were opening Tuesday morning and listening to recorded phone messages, they were shocked to discover a phone message using Mollie Tibbetts’ death to promote white nationalism.

Owner Tsalika Rich recalls the 90-second automated message saying that all “brown-skinned people” in the United States needed to either be killed or deported. Such messages have been reported targeting people in the Des Moines area in recent weeks. While the message on the caller ID showed the phone number originating in Brooklyn, Iowa, officials say the calls do not originate in Iowa and were linked to an Idaho-based neo-Nazi podcast, CNN reports.

“It led by saying, ‘the body of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was found slaughtered in a field and it was done by a brown person who was descended from the Aztecs who used to murder victims on pyramids,’” Rich recalls of the phone message. “It said ‘all brown people were inhumane monsters and that America should be all white.’ It also said if Mollie Tibbetts could come back to life, she would say to kill them all.”

Tibbetts was the subject of a statewide search after she disappeared while jogging on July 18. Her body was recovered in an Iowa cornfield near her Brooklyn home on Aug. 21, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported. Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who officials have reported to be an undocumented immigrant although his attorney claims he is legally in the country, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Tibbetts’ death. The cause of death in a preliminary report was listed as a “homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries,”

“It’s unconscionable that somebody would take and use a tragic death like Mollie Tibbetts is just ridiculous — and unconscionable and repulsive,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds commented Thursday, according to the Gazette.

Earlier this week the Gazette reported Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, a cousin of Mollie Tibbetts, said on her Facebook page that news commentators needed to stop using the death to push a “racist false narrative.” Several other members of Tibbetts’ family have also pushed back against immigration rhetoric stemming from the death. Ron Tibbetts, Mollie’s father, has thanked the Hispanic community for their assistance during the search for Mollie.

Following the discovery of Tibbetts’ body and the arrest of Rivera, many on social media have used the incident to push an anti-immigration stance. President Donald Trump has also cited Tibbetts’ murder as a reason to call for stricter immigration laws and the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Rich said this is the first time she has heard of an automated phone message this threatening. She said because the recording did not say a name (she said the message wasn’t directed specifically at Cafe Dodici) they had not told the police. Automated calls of this kind use a prerecorded message sent from a computerized auto-dialer. She said co-owner Lorraine Williams had tried calling back the number on the caller ID and found it had already been disconnected. Several such calls have been reported in Iowa.

“I was a little scared hearing it,” Rich said. “I realize there are many differing opinions in our community but the idea that America should be all white — I don’t know what to say.”

Rich commented that when she first heard the message she hoped it ws a joke or a prank. She said the message was elaborate and several different people took part in the message.


The Cedar Rapids Gazette and CNN contributed to this story.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Sep 02, 2018 09:37

Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms," then and now - …

At Yarrabee Farms, the longtime Lang family dairy operation where Rivera worked, the phone has been flooded with hundreds of calls, messages and death threats since the arrest, attacking the family for employing an undocumented immigrant.

“This farm absolutely is an accessory to Ms. Tibbetts death,” one person wrote on a Facebook page for the business.

The hatred forced Dane Lang, 33, who lives on the farm alongside his grandfather and employees, to send his dog to stay with a friend and to arrange for the family’s 90-year-old patriarch to stay with relatives. Then he reluctantly called a news conference to explain that the business had run Rivera’s documents through a Social Security database before they had hired him, not knowing the paperwork was false. After Rivera’s arrest, Lang’s employees, who are mostly Latino, holed up in their trailers on Lang’s property behind locked doors, afraid to be seen in town, Lang said. Rumors circulated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials planned to raid Brooklyn, and fearful families weighed whether to stay or go.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Aug 31, 2018 14:06
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