Detroit Man Cannot Be Charged for Hanging KKK Flag in Window Facing Black Neighbor's Home: Report

An image of a KKK flag.
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JeDonna Matthews Dinges, 57, a resident of Grosse Point Park, said the flag was visible from her dining room window.

A Detroit man who displayed a Ku Klux Klan flag in a window in his home that directly faces his Black neighbors will not be charged with ethnic intimidation since he did not commit a crime under current Michigan law, Michigan prosecutors said.

JeDonna Matthews Dinges, 57, a resident of Grosse Pointe Park, said the flag was visible from her dining room window, CBS News reported

The girlfriend of Dinges' neighbor who was displaying the flag said they couldn't afford a curtain, so police visited the home and gave them large cloths to make a switch, City Manager Nick Sizeland told the Detroit Free Press.

Dinges, who is Black, said after the flag incident, officers advised her to find somewhere else to stay, allegedly saying she wasn't safe in her home, but Dinges refused to leave, The Washington Post reported. "You can afford a Klan flag but you can’t afford curtains?” she told the Post, saying the handling of the incident was "comical." “He does this awful thing and you give him a gift with my tax dollars." 

Under the Michigan Ethnic Intimidation Statute, MCLA 750.147b, there must be physical contact, damage, destruction, defacement of property or threats in order to pursue charges, according to the Wayne County Prosecutors said, the Press reported.

“There is absolutely no question that what happened to Ms. Dinges was despicable, traumatizing, and completely unacceptable. But, very unfortunately in my view, not a crime," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.  

Dinges said she has had previous issues with this neighbor, who is white, including one incident in which she says he fired a gun into the air while on his back deck.

She said she is concerned for her own safety and the safety of her 21-year-old daughter.

"I hope the lawmakers are listening. The average person would not own a Klan flag, which is a true symbol of hatred," Dinges told CBS.

Dinges, who owns a clothing store and has lived in Grosse Pointe Park, a northern Detroit suburb of 11,000 people, for about 10 years, said the trouble with her neighbor began after he moved in about five years ago, The Washington Post reported.

That the most recent incident garnered the attention of the mayor and other city and state officials, who jumped into action and offered their support, took Dinges' breath away, she told Post. 

On Feb. 21, the NAACP hosted a rally on her street. Protestors held up signs that read: "Tolerating Racism Is Racism." Dinges said about 800 people showed up and said she "was overwhelmed with emotion."