ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A series of disturbing confrontations involving threats of rape in the Little Five Points neighborhood is now drawing the attention of Atlanta police. A number of residents turned up at the Neighborhood Planning Unit meeting Thursday night to voice their concerns about safety.
Little Five Points resident Joey LaCascia told FOX 5 News he was verbally accosted last Saturday afternoon on Euclid Avenue while walking with his wife.
"As I walked past, they looked me in the eye and said you're the white devil and they looked at my wife and said you're the white devil," said LaCascia.
He said when two black men in long black robes, one carrying a bible, hurled insults at he and his wife he brushed it off. But then came the next words.
"And one of the gentleman behind me informed me he was going to rape my wife. Then in talking to more people in a matter of a half an hour, I had thirty people all saying the exact same story," said LaCasia
The continued confrontations led to Little Five Points residents and business owners bringing up the issue at Thursday night's Neighborhood Planning Unit meeting.
"They're out there harassing not only adults but teenagers and of all races and the things they are ridiculous," said Little Five Points resident Kim Askew.
She said this is an issue of safety which crosses all racial, ethnic, age, and gender lines.
Major Ricardo Vasquez told the crowd Atlanta police is well aware of their concerns
"We do feel that some of the language that has been used might have crossed that line," said Major Vasquez.
He told the crowd while the department is concerned about not violating free speech, department heads are reaching out to the law department to get clarity about what police can do within their legal bounds.
"We're looking to make arrests if necessary and fall within the guidelines that were given by our city attorney," said Major Vasquez.
Residents said when police respond or the men know they're being watched they shut off the vile verbiage.
"When someone pulls out a camera phone to start recording they change their words and behavior markedly," said a man in the audience.
Many in Little Five Points, who value inclusiveness and diversity, hope things don't get worse before they get better.
"This is absolutely a public danger if not to somebody around here on the streets to those two clowns somebody is going to get violent with them," said LaCascia.
Major Vasquez told the crowd APD hopes to come back with some sort of plan to address the confrontations in the near future.