A group claiming responsibility for bombs that killed a federal judge and a civil rights lawyer threatened in a letter full of racial invective to assassinate two NAACP officials "as part of the same reprisal."
In a letter to WAGA-TV, an organization calling itself Americans for a Competent Federal Judicial System also threatened to kill lawyers, judges and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People "any time a black man rapes a white woman."The threatened reprisals led black leaders to bolster security plans for the Jan. 15 celebration of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Precautions were being taken at the 600 southeastern branches of the NAACP, said Earl Shinhoster, the organization's regional director.
An FBI official said he believed the letter was authentic because it contained information available only to someone closely associated with the construction and mailing of the bombs that killed 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert S. Vance at his home near Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 16 and Savannah attorney Robert Robinson two days later.
William L. Hinshaw, agent in charge of the FBI investigation, would not specify what that information is.
Authorities are unfamiliar with the group, Hinshaw said.
The Atlanta Constitution, in today's editions, quoted unidentified sources as saying the letter contained the same identifying code as the previous letters and that physical evidence links all of the letters to the bombs. The newspaper did not elaborate.
In its evening broadcasts Thursday, WAGA-TV released excerpts of the letter, which said the group held a secret meeting Dec. 19 in Montgomery, Ala., after the two fatal bombings.