ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Thousands of people are reacting to a Facebook post from Asheville police showing a “threatening” email the department received shortly before the July 4 holiday.

On July 3, Asheville police posted a screenshot of an email with the subject line “Greetings from ANTIFA.” The department received the email at 11:13 a.m. that morning from the email address “antifafootsoldiers007@hotmail.com.”

In the email, the writer says police have had “little to no response time” after protesters were allegedly threatened on multiple occasions.

“If Asheville Police Department does not ensure the safety of the protesters, then we, ANTIFA, will, at all costs,” the email said.

The writer demands that police protect peaceful protesters “whether they are armed or unarmed” and threatens “further action” if police “continue to harass us.”

The email closes by saying, “This is your first and ONLY formal warning. Sincerely, ANTIFA.”

Dear Asheville Police Department,

We are tired of your lack of protection for the innocent civilians who are peacefully protesting. There have been multiple incidents where there have been immediate threats to the safety, security, and well being of the protesters, with Asheville Police Department having little to no response time. Due to the lack of safety and security provided by the Asheville Police Department, citizens have had to protect and deputize themselves. If Asheville Police Department does not ensure the safety of the protesters, then we, ANTIFA, will, at all costs. The ball is in your court. Here is your chance to show the city that you are the heroes you claim to be. If you fail to meet our demands, then we, ANTIFA, will continue our own ways and methods to keep the good people of this city safe. We will no longer put up with your oppression in ANY FORM. Due to your lack of safety and support, you have forced us to do your jobs for you. We will NOT allow you to tell us that what we are doing is wrong. If safety is what you truly want, then you will shape up and do your jobs correctly. This includes keeping peaceful protesters safe, whether they are armed or unarmed. If you continue to fail to protect protesters, we will continue to successfully do so. If you continue to harass us for doing so, you will be met with further action. This is your first and ONLY formal warning.

Sincerely,

ANTIFA

Asheville police posted the email with a statement of their own, adding that they are working to verify the authenticity of the email.

“While Asheville prides itself on protecting free speech rights as well as people and property, the email received today runs counter to that spirit,” Asheville Police Chief David Zack said. “Tomorrow, as we celebrate our nation’s birthday, there may be more demonstrations. As we continue to protect the public, we are asking for help from community members, demonstrators, and elected officials: if you see or hear any evidence of someone who is intent on committing violence, destroying property, or breaking any state laws or city ordinances, please report that information to the police.”

𝐀𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐓𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐄𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐥

The Asheville Police Department received a concerning email this morning regarding potential upcoming demonstrations.

The email threatens that the police department would be met with “further action” if certain demands are not met. That further action is not specified.

The department is in the process of vetting the authenticity of the email.

“While Asheville prides itself on protecting free speech rights as well as people and property, the email received today runs counter to that spirit,” said Asheville Police Chief David Zack. “Tomorrow, as we celebrate our nation’s birthday, there may be more demonstrations. As we continue to protect the public, we are asking for help from community members, demonstrators, and elected officials: if you see or hear any evidence of someone who is intent on committing violence, destroying property, or breaking any state laws or city ordinances, please report that information to the police.”

The Asheville Police Department’s role in any demonstration is to make sure that the first amendment rights of demonstrators are protected and that laws are followed. We have done that in the past and will continue to do so in future demonstrations.

Please check our social media platforms for updates.

As of Friday, the post had more than 2,700 comments and 3,200 reactions.

In a comment that sparked 3,100 reactions, former Libertarian vice-presidential candidate Spike Cohen, who ran alongside Jo Jorgenson, said, “Here to see if you’re already being mocked for sharing this. Not disappointed.”

Many of the other commenters decry the post as “fake.”

“Can someone please forward this to Seth Meyers? This is one of the funniest/saddest/most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen a police department publicly do- definitely on a fb page. I want my taxes back,” one commenter wrote.

“Come on Asheville Police Department. This is embarrassing. You’re going to end up on John Oliver for this,” another wrote.

Some, however, take the email seriously.

“APD …Just a simple “Thank You”..we appreciate you,” one wrote.

Another wrote, “Praying for your safety.”