Local News

Questions Surround Racist Letter in Cary

Posted March 20, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— An inflammatory letter containing racial slurs has some Cary residents -- and the letter's purported writer -- mystified about its origins and purpose.

A one-page typewritten letter containing defamatory remarks and a KKK emblem was delivered Saturday by U.S. mail to 180 families of Pine Ridge Apartments.

Lou Sawicki, whose name is on the letter, says he knows nothing about its creation and that he was out of town for the past few days. Cary's police chief agreed, saying there is evidence that Sawicki had nothing to do with the incident, although the investigation continues.

The letter decried the number of African-Americans living at Pine Ridge, said that there are worries of vandalism and theft and declared that the writer is a member of the Cary Ku Klux Klan.

"I was appalled," said Mikki Chalmers, a resident of the Pine Ridge Apartments.

Letterhead stationery identified Sawicki and his address in the complex, but he denies any knowledge of the letter's creation.

"I had no knowledge of the letter," Sawicki said. "I did not send the letter. I was out of town when they were postmarked, and I'm here at the Cary Police Department trying to figure out why my name was used."

At a news conference held Sunday afternoon in Town Hall, Cary Mayor Koka Booth and Police Chief W.J. Hunter said the letter is under investigation, but it is not a crime to make racist comments in a letter. Booth also said that there was no Ku Klux Klan chapter in Cary.

Hunter said at the press conference that there is evidence Sawicki is not to blame.

"We do believe there's a possibility, based on some other relationships that Mr. Sawicki has had, that they may have been involved in this matter as well," said Hunter.

If it can be proven that someone wrote the letter and falsely used someone else's name as the sender, that could be a criminal offense. Based on information Sawicki gave investigators Sunday, they are looking into that possibility.

Investigators say some unopened letters could contain evidence that will lead them to the author.

"God can take care of fools and babies," said Kim Humphrey, who is also a Pine Ridge resident. "And whoever wrote that letter was a fool, so he'll look out for them. So I'll keep my enemies close to me."

The letter, however, still has residents of Pine Ridge worried.

"Some people are afraid, because with something like this, you can't be sure what could happen or what could not happen," Chalmers said.