NOVATO, Calif. (KRON) — Anti-Semitic messages distributed across Novato have been determined to fall under protected free speech, according to the Novato Police Department.
On Monday around 9:30 a.m., community members began to report that anti-Semitic flyers had been distributed at residences around Novato. NPD states the flyers were inside of plastic bags and had been placed in the driveways of residences across the south end of the city near Ignacio Boulevard.
Officers responding to this incident found that the flyers contained anti-Semitic hate speech, but they were not determined to be a violation of the law. The incident is being classified as a “hate-motivated incident,” at this time.
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According to NPD, a hate-motivated incident is any action or behavior motivated by hate but legally protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. These incidents can include distributing materials with hate messages.
In response to the incident, Novato Chief of Police Beth Johnson said, “The safety and wellbeing of our community members is our priority. The Novato Police Department takes matters of hate incidents and hate crimes very seriously and we are committed to investigating these incidents fully.”