This article was originally published on Huffington Post by David Lohr on January 27, 2017.
A case of mistaken identity has led to harassment and death threats for a Wisconsin family, which says it has no connection to a Nazi flag that hung outside its apartment over the weekend.
Rosangela Diaz says her neighbor put the flag up in front of their Oshkosh duplex on Saturday. A photo of it quickly went viral on social media, prompting some to share not only the image but also the address.
“This has been a nightmare,” Diaz told The Huffington Post. “We’re terrified someone is going to do something to us.”
Diaz said she initially had no idea why people started banging on her door and yelling outside her house. Then, on Sunday, a friend directed her to the social media post. She soon discovered numerous other posts about the flag, including one by state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.
“We did not even see the flag [when it was up], and when we went to look, it had already been taken down,” she said. “Now, we’re getting all this hate directed at us.”
In response to the posting, Diaz said strangers have made their way to the family’s doorstep, accusing them of being racists. An unknown person also broke the windshield and flattened the tires on the family car.
“They keep calling us racists, but I’m Hispanic and my husband is African-American, so we’re obviously not racists,” she said. The family includes four children, ages 1 to 11.
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the person who allegedly flew the flag, but the property owner, Grant Schwab, says that the person removed it.
“Schwab Properties shares the community’s outrage at this unprecedented display,” Grant Schwab said in a statement to FOX 11 News. “We do not condone this tenant’s actions or share this tenant’s beliefs in any way.”
Diaz said someone has since replaced the Nazi flag with a peace flag.
The family has started a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise funds to relocate. Diaz, who works two jobs to support her family, said it’s impossible for them to come up with the money themselves. Her husband, who she said suffers from keratoconus, a progressive eye disease, is currently unable to work.
“This whole thing has been crazy,” said Diaz. “We’re super desperate to get out of here.”
The Oshkosh Police Department did not return a call for comment. However, the agency did confirm to KARE 11 News that it is investigating. The FBI has also reportedly joined the efforts.