James Muwakkil, the president of the Lee County NAACP, says he’s been getting a lot of threatening messages lately, some of which sound like this:
“This is southwest Florida, southern born and bred. There’s a lot more of us than there are of you.”
He’s been getting threats after the NAACP upped the ante on removing the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers.
“That’s mild compared to some of the message we’ve gotten in the past. I care about it, but I’m moving forward,” Muwakkil said.
They have a protest scheduled on May 15 at the statue site, and a presentation to the city council six days later. But now he says the threats are getting too personal to ignore.
“My directives were go to the FBI,” Muwakkil said.
In a letter sent to county leaders, including the Lee County Sheriff, Muwakkil says a man pulled up to his house last month and took a photo.
“I yelled at him, ‘hey, who are you?! Who are you?!” Muwakkil said.
And last weekend, a man at a Fort Myers barber shop told him this: “He said one of the confederate commanders said if he put up $500, could that make you become invisible?”
WINK News spoke to that man over the phone, but he says there was no threat.
Muwakkil certainly doesn’t see it that way, and his group doesn’t either.
“The NAACP didn’t take is as a joke,” he said.
The Sons of the Confederacy say they’re a historical society, and if Muwakkil’s claims are true, they’d remove that member and report them to law enforcement.
But despite the threats, Muwakkil says they’ve got larger numbers, and therefore, the advantage.
“The statue on Monroe Street is coming down. Make no mistake about it. It’s coming down,” he said.
Mike Scott, the Lee County Sheriff released this statement on Muwakkil’s claims of threats against him and his organization:
“I have shared your information with our intelligence unit and we will not hesitate to assist our law enforcement colleagues as/if further information presents.”
On May 15, Muwakkil says NAACP members will also change their political party to Republican in an effort to vote out commissioners.