Florida’s Jupiter Beach became the stage for a disturbing incident that underscored the ongoing struggle against racism. Here’s the full story.
The Racist Act
The incident unfolded after Andrew Sherlock Mills, a black surfer, engaged in a heated exchange with other surfers on the beach.
“Not Welcome” Here
He reported being assaulted and subjected to derogatory comments, with the individuals involved making it clear he was “not welcome.”
The Unsettling Discovery
When Mills exited the water, he was met with an unsettling discovery: his surfboard had been nailed to a palm tree, approximately 10 feet above the ground, evoking haunting parallels with the lynching imagery used to symbolize hate.
Racism in Florida
Mills recounted his distressing encounter on the Instagram page ‘black.surfers’. He posted: “This serves as a stark reminder of the genuine extent of racism and animosity prevalent in Jupiter, Florida.”
They Can’t Stand to See a Black Man
“They can’t stand to see a Black man in their waters. I was told I was not welcome. Stole my board when I turned my back and they did this. Said it was a message,” he continued.
They Nailed It to a Tree
“They nailed it to the tree like a lynching,” he concluded.
After Mills posted the incident, the Instagram group ignited a passionate debate. Some responses attempted to downplay the racial aspect, suggesting that Mills’ experience was tied to his surfing manners rather than his race.
Not Racism, Just Bad Etiquette
“It has nothing to do with your race, rather it has to do with your etiquette,” one user wrote.
“No One Is After You Man. None of Us Are Racist”
Another user added, “You obviously seem to not understand that still. No one is after you man. None of us are racist.”
A Cover for Underlying Racism
However, Mills and his supporters rejected these claims, saying these arguments serve as a cover for underlying racism and discrimination.
What Really Happened
Mills responded, “This happened after I was physically pushed around in the water by two dudes grabbing my board and a third guy screaming Get off our beach, you’re not welcome here, and the rest of it.”
“A few locals that were there were apologizing and agreed it was wrong,” he added.
Racially Motivated Vandalism
In response to the incident, the black surfer’s group labeled Mills as a “Black surfer, father and husband, who was subjected to racially motivated vandalism and a symbolic lynching of his board.”
Hold People to Account
The group wrote, “If you see something, say something. Hold people to account. What’s done in the dark must be brought to the light.”
An Investigation Is Under Way
The Jupiter Police Department announced an investigation into the incident after spotting it on social media.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.