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Law expert discusses penalties for 'its okay to be white' flyers scattered in Naples neighborhood

Its okay to be white flyer in Naples
Posted at 3:53 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-16 19:07:02-04

NAPLES, Fla. — On Sunday, May 14, 2023, a report from the Collier County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) said a total of 70 flyers were scattered across a Naples neighborhood, which read, 'It's Okay to be White'.

Recently Governor Ron DeSantis signed into state law, crackdowns on hate crimes in Florida.

The legislation makes it a felony to harass or intimidate people for their religion or ethnicity. It also brings felony charges for projecting hateful images onto someone else’s property. Click here for that story.

Ryan Kussart, who is mentioned in the CCSO report for contacting deputies, told Fox 4 about the moments he found the flyers early Sunday morning as he took his dogs for a walk.

“As we walked around the corner we saw these little bags that had rice in them and I picked it up because of the rice and not because of the paper in it,” said Kussart.

Kussart said that paper, which you see here with the text that reads 'It's okay to be white.'

its okay to be white
Flyer Ryan Kussart said was left on his neighbors driveways on Sunday May 14, 2023.

“I just found it as a cowardly move just to leave it in somebody’s driveway,” said Kussart.

Doctor Pamella Seay, a licensed attorney and professor at Florida Gulf Coast University spoke with Fox 4 about if an incident that happened on May 14 in Naples, could fall under the umbrella of the governor's new state law.

“What the words actually say, 'it’s okay to be white', what is the meaning of that? I don't see that there is a specific meaning to it,” said Dr. Seay.

Dr. Seay said that means it would be difficult for the distributor of these flyers to face future charges.

“The very specific nature of the words it might be very difficult to prosecute under this law or any law,” said Dr. Seay.

“As long as there is not an accompanying act or threat then I think this is probably going to pass muster for a while,” said Dr. Seay.

In the report from Collier County Sheriff’s Office, it said a total of 70 flyers were collected in the surrounding area but due to the wide-scale handout, the report said it does not seem to be targeting specific people.

While detectives said it's an ongoing investigation, neighbors like Kussart said they hope it's something that doesn't hit close to home, ever again.

“I have been in this neighborhood for six weeks every day, every morning, and the comradery I get from the neighbors and the people that just speak and say hi...I would not like to think that it was one of my neighbors,” said Kussart.