Man who put target in yard of NAACP leader thought it looked like flower, police say

"This event does not appear to be a racialized act," said the NAACP president in Nashville, Tennessee.

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By Tim Stelloh

The man accused of placing a bull's-eye target at the home of a civil rights leader in Tennessee said he thought it resembled a flower that would look "nice" in the front yard, authorities said Monday.

Keith Caldwell, the NAACP chapter president in Nashville, Tennessee, found a target at his house on Saturday, May 9, 2020.Courtesy of Keith Caldwell

The man, Roy Brown, 63, was issued a misdemeanor citation for putting the plastic target at the home of Keith Caldwell, president of the NAACP's Nashville chapter, Metro Nashville Police said in a statement.

Caldwell, who has led the local chapter for two years, alerted police after finding that someone had placed the object inside his locked fence Saturday night. There was no note, and Caldwell said he thought it might signal a threat. When a responding officer appeared to dismiss his concerns, Caldwell wrote about it on Facebook.

Caldwell wanted to prosecute Brown for "intimidation," police said, and a booking date was scheduled for Aug. 14. In an interview, Caldwell said that he believes Brown is homeless and that he plans to use the court date only to help him secure services.

"This event does not appear to be a racialized act," Caldwell said.

Police said the responding officer, Eric McCoy, "meant no disrespect" when he told Caldwell that the target looked "cool." The officer, who graduated from the police academy in 2018, agreed to discuss the incident with Caldwell at a conflict resolution center.