U-46 member who likened flag to toilet paper reports death threats

  • Elgin Area School District U-46 school board member Traci O'Neal Ellis received threats after her recent Facebook comments about the American flag.

    Elgin Area School District U-46 school board member Traci O'Neal Ellis received threats after her recent Facebook comments about the American flag.

 
 
Updated 10/1/2017 8:03 AM

A school board member who made a controversial post about the American flag has received online threats that prompted her to file a complaint with police Friday.

Elgin Area School District U-46 board member Traci O'Neal Ellis posted earlier this week that the flag "means nothing more than toilet paper to me." That has prompted, she said, hundreds of Facebook replies -- both public and private -- many from people condemning her statement while using racial epithets and other disparaging terms.

 

She told Elgin police about the most threatening ones.

"I am being sent a message that as a black woman, I have stepped out of my place and I better get back in it," she said.

The threats included someone writing "One bullet" on her public, school board member Facebook page.

In the "Bartlett Area News" Facebook page, another person wrote, "U have no idea the ends ill go to ... eliminate u with extreme prejudice."

In another post, which appears to have been deleted, someone posted they hoped Ellis would get sodomized.

Cmdr. Colin Fleury said police are taking the threats "very seriously" and the investigation may result in charges being filed.

"We are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of who the person is that made the threats," he said. "We are taking it very seriously. I have detectives looking into it proactively."

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Ellis' statement about the flag went viral after her Sept. 24 post on her personal Facebook page, in which she said she supports NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. There were also people who expressed support for her sentiments.

The last two days have been "a tough time," Ellis said. She also said she could have been "more elegant and circumspect" in her original Facebook post.

"I believe in the ideals behind the flag," she said. "I do not believe in the idolatry of the flag. That piece of cloth has no value separate and apart from we the people walking those ideals out and according justice and freedom to all -- and that's not happening right now in America."

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