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FBI asked to investigate racist threats against UNM program director

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque NAACP is asking the FBI to investigate a racist attack that includes the threat of a lynching directed toward Charles Becknell Jr., director of the Africana Studies program at the University of New Mexico.

Albuquerque NAACP President Harold Bailey said late Thursday in a statement that the civil rights organization is “extremely disturbed and agitated about the racist and threatening messages sent to Dr. Charles Becknell Jr.”

The threats came in two separate special event request forms that were submitted just after midnight on Thursday, as well as separate email and Facebook postings.

According to a report made to UNM police, the forms were forwarded to UNM police by an employee who works for the Special Events Office.

In the “name of event” line, the anonymous applicant wrote “Ku Klux Klan Lynching”; the location of the event was listed as “Charles Becknell’s house,” with the date of the event listed as May 4, 2020, and the estimated attendance at “666.” In the “notes” line, “Kill all (N-word)” was written.

In a second form, under “organization/department” making the special event request, the applicant listed “(N-word) killers,” the same designation listed as the applicant’s contact name.

Becknell subsequently informed UNM police that, on April 27, the Facebook page for the department had a posting, saying, “If you actually taught something besides hatred, you’d be more well received.”

In a separate email sent to the Africana Studies program, also just after midnight on Thursday, the sender wrote “F… (N-word),” “I hate (N-word),” “Destroy (N-word)” and “Kill (N-word).”

Bailey said the NAACP wants to know what measures law enforcement will take to ensure Becknell’s safety, and to identify the writer or writers of the racist and threatening messages. Bailey has also asked the FBI to investigate the matter.

Charles Becknell Jr. is the son of the Rev. Dr. Charles Becknell Sr., who is state president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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