Originally published Tuesday, July 7. Updated on Thursday, June 9 to include statement from the South Pasadena Police Department.
Some South Pasadena residents have discovered nails scattered around their driveways over the past few days. Though the targeted properties lie all around the city, they so far have shared one common feature: They all display signs supporting Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements.
“Friday evening, my husband walked out to one of our cars parked on the street, and he noticed brand-new shiny nails in the middle of our driveway,” said Amy Betts. “We just assumed right away it was people who didn’t agree with the signs that were up.”
Betts didn’t think much of the incident at first, but decided to take action after discovering through online group chats that other residents had also found nails in their driveways, and in one case on their porch. “When we heard there were other people that were affected, that’s when we filed a police report.”
Jessica Bradford found nails in her driveway last Tuesday morning, four days after Betts. “I was walking my dog around 10:00 a.m., and when I came home I noticed several nails in my driveway behind my car,” she said. Bradford suspects her bumper stickers displaying raised fists triggered the incident.
Leslie Mallgrave, who also found nails in her driveway, believes the scattering of the nails is an intimidation tactic from someone outside the community. “I don’t think this is indicative of the feelings of the people of South Pasadena,” she said. No one has reported any injury or any damage to their vehicle or property so far.
This comes in tandem with another racially-motivated incident last week. As first reported by The Tiger, South Pasadena High School’s student newspaper, men were discovered placing flyers with the slogan “It’s Okay To Be White” on cars outside of houses with Black Lives Matter signs. The slogan has been co-opted by white nationalist and far-right hate groups in recent years to spread white supremacist ideology.
In response, activists have displayed their support of Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes with chalk-drawn messages and slogans, most notably on sidewalks down Fair Oaks and Mission, where daily protests continue to take place.
Though Betts dismisses the perpetrators as “hateful people doing stupid things,” she still felt the need to inform the community. “It’s just important to know that this kind of stuff happens,” she said.
Additionally, resident Andy Eaton has also claimed fresh nails were left in the driveways of homes with BLM or pro immigrant signs this week. He and some other residents have filed reports with local law enforcement.
The South Pasadena Police Department responded with a press release on Thursday, July 9. Here is their statement:
The Detective Bureau of the South Pasadena Police Department is currently investigating nine incidents where small nails have been dispersed on the property of South Pasadena residents.
Occurring over a multi-day basis, most locations had Black Lives Matters signs visibly displayed. The Police Department is diligently and thoroughly investigating these incidents using all available resources due to the implications regarding the possible motivation behind these incidents.
The Police Department will not tolerate any criminal acts motivated by hate or bias and will use all available resources to thoroughly investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law any case that meets the criteria.
If you have any information regarding these incidents that you believe could assist us with identifying the person(s) involved, please contact the South Pasadena Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 626-403-7270.