BEEBE, Ark. – Arkansans will see a lot of red, white and blue this holiday weekend.
But one city in the Natural State will mostly be seeing blue.
A threatening email to two city of Beebe officials June 20 has police on high alert ahead of Monday’s “4th of July Extravaganza.”
Independence Day is the only mandatory holiday every Beebe police officer is on duty for. The department always has extra security at events like the yearly extravaganza, but officers will be keeping their eyes peeled for something other than fireworks this year.
“It’s a big event,” said Inv. Misty Goss. “There are a lot of people that come out. We want it to be family friendly, a fun atmosphere. We intend to make sure it stays safe for everyone.”
The subject of the email in question reads, “YOUR MAYOR’S RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE,” and a threatening message follows:
“Tell that TREASONOUS piece of s#!+, Mike Robertson [the mayor], as well as that other TRAITOR Barrett Rogers [the former city attorney] I’m coming for them. And they WILL pay for their crimes! BANK ON THAT!”
“We take threats seriously against our public officials,” said Inv. Goss. “It’s not going to be tolerated here. A threat against our city officials is a threat against this city. We’re a close-knit community. When you have someone that makes a direct, ‘I’m coming for you,’ that causes more concern than just sending an email and just being hateful.”
Inv. Goss found the man behind the email, Daniel Barber, lives in California and also likes to post threatening messages on his Facebook page, mostly about the “traitors” at the NRA.
“I don’t know what his interest is in Arkansas, but he does not appear to be from here or to be any kind of past or present resident,” Inv. Goss said.
There is also no history of problems like this with the event or city officials, but the email is enough to put Inv. Goss’s department on high alert Monday to make sure the large crowd stays safe.
Christine Smith, a 4th of July Extravaganza regular, still plans to be a part of the crowd with her family and friends.
“Everybody sends threatening emails or texts,” Smith said. “Most of them are just talk. What’s the chances he’s really gonna come all the way down here just to cause a problem for everybody? We’re based on religion and freedom of speech so we should be able to have whoever who wants to come.”
Inv. Goss said the city has not received anything further from Barber to make her believe his email is more than a threat.
She plans to present a case file to the White County prosecutor and continue to monitor city emails and phone calls.