Posted on December 8, 2022

Murder, Fear and Racist Fliers in Fargo

Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, November 28, 2022

The aroma of barbecue ribs used to comfort him, but now Manny Behyee worried it could attract trouble. Walking up to Teta’s garage cookout, he’d scanned the cars lining her suburban street. Should everyone have parked further apart? Was it obvious they were having a party?

The Liberian immigrants had tried to keep a low profile since someone — a stranger? a neighbor? — distributed hundreds of fliers labeling them a threat to White children. A mile away, people woke up one September morning to small plastic bags on their lawns containing a picture of a Liberian man who had recently been convicted of killing a 14-year-old girl in Fargo. The caption invoked a racist theory that foreigners of color are “replacing” White Americans in the United States: “THE GREAT REPLACEMENT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.”

The victim’s father had appeared in court with someone he called a “pro-White” advocate. Anti-Black stickers and graffiti showed up on streetlights and buildings, including the international grocery store where Behyee shopped.


The Great Replacement, a doctrine of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups for decades, has lately been finding a bigger audience.

Tucker Carlson, one of the nation’s most popular cable television hosts, name-checked it last year in a monologue about Haitian migrants seeking asylum in Texas. President Biden wanted to “change the racial mix of the country” with lax border control, Carlson said. “In political terms, this policy is called the ‘Great Replacement,’” he said. “The replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.”

Such rhetoric has become a pillar of far-right rallies with animosity aimed at undocumented immigrants. Days before Behyee’s cookout, Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) told an Arizona audience that outsiders were “on the verge of replacing you, replacing your jobs and replacing your kids in school and, coming from all over the world, they’re also replacing your culture.”


Daisy “Jupiter” Paulsen, 14, was skateboarding from her father’s house to her mother’s in June 2021 when Arthur Kollie, 23, attacked her with a knife. He stabbed her more than 20 times outside a Party City, police said, seemingly at random.

The girl died days later. The Fargo mayor, police chief and county sheriff attended her public memorial. Soon after, Jupiter’s face began appearing on white supremacist propaganda.

On the anniversary of her death, members of a group known for peddling racist and antisemitic conspiracies marched through Fargo, holding signs that said, “Justice for Jupiter.” Four months later, following Kollie’s murder conviction, fliers the size of postcards landed before dawn in the yards of a mostly White neighborhood near an elementary school. They came in plastic bags packed with dried corn — probably to make them easier to throw, officers noted at the scene.

The front featured photos of Jupiter and Kollie. (“THE GREAT REPLACEMENT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.”) The back directed people to the websites of a white supremacist network that took credit for distributing racist fliers across the Upper Midwest. “Do you really want your children to become a hated minority in their own country?” the group wrote.

Police announced an investigation, asking residents to share home security camera footage that might reveal the culprit. Officers were able to identify only a suspicious sedan.

“It’s not a crime to hurt feelings, though,” a man commented on the West Fargo Police Department’s Facebook page.

“I’m surprised to see community members being so utterly dismissive about racist propaganda being left in our streets,” a woman shot back.

“What’s to Investigate?” another man asked. “We do have free speech rights here In America.”

The police chief, Denis Otterness, tried to explain to disgruntled callers: Yes, he respected the First Amendment, but at the very least, whoever scattered the fliers had violated a littering ordinance. They could have damaged property. They could face fines.

“We want our neighbors to feel welcome here,” he said.

That sense of welcome is fragile, said Ebenezer Saye, president of the state Liberian association.


After Jupiter’s murder, Saye reached out to her father, Robert Paulsen, expressing his heartbreak and horror. Saye didn’t know the killer, but he’d heard about Kollie walking in the snow without clothes. (During the murder trial, Kollie’s sister said he talked to himself and saw things that weren’t there.)


The men agreed to a meeting. Saye, who has eight children, wore a shirt that said “DAD” in solidarity with Paulsen. They shook hands. Paulsen, a welder at a tractor factory, said he worked with several Liberians.

He accepted Saye’s invitation to a candlelight vigil for Jupiter.

“I know there are racist people out there who have a lot of hatred, but we come from some of the same backgrounds,” Paulsen said at the time, according to the local newspaper. “If anything happens, tell me and I’ll stand in the way.”

Then Peter Tefft got involved.


Peter Tefft had marched in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where white supremacists raised their arms in Hitler salutes and chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” After a neo-Nazi sped his car into counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 35, Tefft’s father published an open letter in the Fargo newspaper, condemning his son’s attendance as “vile, hateful and racist.” (Tefft did not respond to requests for comment.)

Paulsen didn’t know much about Tefft, but he appreciated the outreach. They started chatting on an encrypted app.


Jupiter’s killer had a record of felony charges and had been arrested while running from a bar fight three days before stabbing her. Why hadn’t he been in jail?

Tefft told Paulsen the state didn’t care enough about White people — that if Jupiter had been Black and Kollie had been White, people would have rioted. He said Jupiter was a victim of anti-White discrimination and that her murder should be considered a hate crime. It didn’t matter that Jupiter’s mother is Hispanic, another group demonized by Great Replacement rhetoric.

The remarks echoed what Tefft has said publicly. On one far-right podcast, he accused Fargo leaders of creating an “atmosphere of anti-White hatred.” {snip}

Yet one of Tefft’s views stuck with Paulsen.

“I don’t want it to be a Black and White thing, but what I agree with is: If the roles were reversed, it would be a different story,” Paulsen said. “There would be riots. People would be burning stuff down.”

After an April court hearing, Paulsen told reporters he’d accepted the help of “pro-White advocates” to lodge an “anti-White hate crime” report against Kollie.


Tefft had drafted the language for the report, Paulsen said, and recorded a video of them dropping it off together at the Fargo police department. (Paulsen said he has not heard back from an officer, and Fargo police said Kollie has not been charged with a hate crime.)

Jupiter’s killer was ultimately found guilty of murder, robbery and aggravated assault. A judge sentenced him last month to life in prison without parole, the maximum penalty in North Dakota.

Paulsen said he deleted the encrypted app in September and lost touch with Tefft. {snip}

“I have no problem with the Liberians,” he said. “I have hatred toward only one person.”