The Beverly Hills Police Department said that an anti-Armenian flyer threatening to “wipe Armenia off the map” is protected by the First Amendment.
On January 28, the Beverly Hills Police Department said it was investigating an anti-Armenian flyer that was spotted around the city and its vicinity, ahead of an Armenian Youth Federation march scheduled on that day to protest Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh.
“Azerbaijan; Turkey; Pakistan; Israel = 4 BROTHERS WILL WIPE Armenia OFF the MAP Inshallah!!!,” read the message on the various iterations of the flyers that were found posted around the city on that day.
“On Saturday, 01/28/23, the Beverly Hills Police Department launched an investigation into the posting of anti-Armenian flyers. Although offensive and insensitive, it has been determined that the flyers fall within the protection of the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” the Beverly Hills Police Department said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, effectively ending its investigation.
“The Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our community and does not condone or tolerate any hate speech directed at anyone, for any reason,” added the statement.
The Beverly Hills Police Department did not elaborate whether its investigation had revealed any perpetrators or whether it had questioned individuals or groups that might have been associated with posting the hateful flyers.
“Overt and explicit threats of violence and genocide toward any racial or ethnic group of people are not protected by the First Amendment,” said Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Board chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq.
“The decision of the Beverly Hills Police Department to end its investigation of this reprehensible hate speech toward Armenians while hiding behind the First Amendment is deeply disappointing,” added Hovsepian.
“Those who espouse such hateful genocidal rhetoric should be held accountable before they turn their words into action,” Hovsepian concluded.
On Saturday, 01/28/23, the Beverly Hills Police Department launched an investigation into the posting of anti-Armenian flyers. Although offensive and insensitive, it has been determined that the flyers fall within the protection of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/iffSXWWNrQ— Beverly Hills Police (@BeverlyHillsPD) February 7, 2023
Beverly Hills Mayor Lille Bosse had immediately denounced the flyers on social media saying “I’ve said it over and over again, hate has no place in Beverly Hills or anywhere. I will always stand up, I will always speak out against it.”
The flyer also was condemned by several local, state and federal officials, as well as a number of Jewish organizations, who deplored the racism and hatred emanating from the flyer.
Yet the Beverly Hills Police Department, as well as the city’s mayor and other officials reached a completely different conclusion when flyers denying the Holocaust were circulated anonymously around the city. In fact, in that instance hate crime charges were immediately pursued against the perpetrators of that crime.
Israel’s Consulate General in Los Angeles has not returned numerous requests for comment on the matter by Asbarez, which reached out via email and text messages to the consular staff.