Newark Police are investigating offensive flyers that were distributed at several apartment complexes early Sunday.

The flyers – which stated “Kill Chinese Virus” – were found on vehicles and at apartment doors in the School Lane Apartments, Pinebrook Apartments, Fairfield Apartments and One Easton.

“The flyers caused concern to some residents,” said Lt. Andrew Rubin, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department.

“Chinese virus” is a term that some, most notably President Donald Trump, have used to describe the novel coronavirus, which originated in China. However, critics have condemned the phrase as xenophobic and warned that its use is contributing to a rise of racist attacks on Asian-Americans.

In a letter to international students, University of Delaware officials said the apartment complexes targeted by the flyers are all home to Asian and Asian-American students.

"All of us are appalled that this has occurred in our community, and we send our support to the victims and to all individuals who may have fears about being targeted," read the letter, which was signed by Provost Robin Morgan and two other officials. "It is evident that COVID-19 has led to an increase in racist and xenophobic acts such as this one. We understand that you may feel greater fear about your safety. Please know that the entire university community stands in solidarity with you during these most challenging of times."

Rubin said that detectives are investigating the circumstances around the distribution of the flyers, but based solely on the text, it doesn’t appear they constitute terroristic threatening or a similar offense.

“It’s not obvious it’s any crime other than littering or trespassing,” he said.

Anyone with information about the flyers or who has video of them being distributed should contact Det. William Anderson at 302-366-7100, ext. 3469, or wanderson@newark.de.us.

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