Nashville NAACP leader finds bullseye target in yard

A civil rights organizer says his complaint was dismissed at first

Keith Caldwell (Credit: Keith Caldwell)

Nashville police are investigating how a practice target for kids with a bullseye ended up in the backyard of an NAACP leader in Tennessee.

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The Tennessean reported that the president of the Nashville NAACP, Keith Caldwell, found the bullseye easel at his home last Saturday. Cops believe that it may be a potential act of intimidation that took place in the historically Black neighborhood near Jefferson Street.

“Mr. Caldwell is concerned that the target may have been placed in his yard as an act of intimidation due to his role as Nashville NAACP President or due to a dispute a member of his family is having with another individual,” the  Metro Police Department said in a written statement Sunday.

Caldwell, who became president of the Nashville NAACP in 2018, was measured in his response to the situation.

“People are saying that it’s racism or something, and I don’t know that. Even though, yeah, it’s probably a really good chance,” Caldwell says. “But I want the police to do their work because I don’t want to feed any flames unnecessarily.”

Caldwell told NBC News that when he initially reported the incident to the Metro Nashville Police Department, he was dismissed. The officer who responded to the non-emergency line call asked Caldwell what it was doing there.

“I said, ‘That’s what I’m calling you for,'” Caldwell said. “He said, ‘It’s pretty cool.'”

Caldwell didn’t agree. He viewed as a threat given his race and prominence in the community.

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“The fact is that I am a Black man, and I am outspoken, and I am the president of the NAACP, and I’ve said a lot things that someone who wants to keep people oppressed don’t like,” Caldwell said, adding later, “I know that it’s an act of intimidation.”

By the next day, a more formal investigation was launched and concerted efforts were taken to find the culprit. Law enforcement dusted for fingerprints and have increased patrols.

“The initial response to the Saturday night call and the interaction between Mr. Caldwell and the first officer is under review,” Metro Police said in a statement Sunday.

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