WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - Tension has been growing among West Memphis residents since the police shooting death of a 12-year-old boy, more recently the death of a man who was tasered repeatedly by West Memphis officers.
Thursday, two men fighting for a recall of public officials found an eerie message in their front yards. One of the men Wendol Lee, found the message after taking his wife to work.
"I happened to notice it when I got back," Lee said.
What Lee noticed was that someone left a homemade cross outside the window of his West Memphis home.
"I can look at it as a death threat, because you know, a cross looks like its used as a symbol of death," Lee said.
Lee said his community involvement may have made him the target of a hate crime. As president of the civil rights group Operation HELP, he has been openly critical of West Memphis leaders and law enforcement.
"We need someone up there that's gonna do something to ease the tension that's going on over here with all this killing," Lee said.
Tension brought on by the police shooting of 12-year-old DeAunta Farrow last year, and more recently, the death of DeWayne Chatt, a suspect who died after being repeatedly tasered by West Memphis officers.
Not far from Lee's home on 28th Street in West Memphis, another cross was found in the front yard of Hubert Bass.
Bass is Vice President of Operation HELP and the only black candidate in the race for Crittenden County Sheriff.
Both men said they are not sure who left the crosses in their yards or even what they mean, but they do know this:
"We're not going to let it intimidate us. We're going to keep on trying to seek justice," Bass said.
Both men said they do not plan to file police reports about the crosses because their relationship with law enforcement is not very good right now and they do not know how much good it would do.