Community shows support for Roscoe's BBQ after racist Craigslist posts

It was probably the busiest Tuesday night in the history of Roscoe's BBQ and it left Will Moore, a.k.a. "Roscoe," drained but ultimately appreciative.

Hundreds of people filed into the barbecue joint to show support for Moore and his wife after the couple were bombarded with racist Craigslist posts.

Moore, who grew up in Mississippi and hails from a long line of barbecue masters, opened Roscoe's BBQ four years ago along with his wife Nikola Moore.

Their venue is as famous for its slow-cooked brisket and pork ribs as it is the local music that flows through on a weekly basis.

And until recently, they have not had to confront racism of any kind in southern Oregon.

"Four years and we haven't seen anything like this," Moore said. "It's been wild."

Phoenix police have opened an investigation into the posts, which are strewn with explicit hatred toward blacks and mixed-race couples such as Moore and his wife. The posts also show old images of blacks being lynched.

Tuesday's show of support caught fire on Facebook after some Roscoe's BBQ regulars wrote posts describing their concern and outrage over the Craigslist posts.

The bar area was five deep most of the evening as the wait staff cut through the crowds with plates of ribs and catfish.

Meanwhile, around 30 people carrying anti-racism signs lined the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

Among them was Dell Brown, who sported a shirt bearing Martin Luther King's face. Brown said he was not surprised by the community's rally for the Moores.

"I had no doubt this was going to happen tonight," Brown said. "It's no secret how much the community loves Roscoe."

Lauren Spector, of Ashland, steering her wheelchair through the mob to join the gathering. It was Spector's first time in Roscoe's and she seemed to enjoy the scene.

"I am Jewish and I've experienced my share of anti-Semitism," Spector said. "When things like this happen, you have to wonder where is the love and respect in this world?"

Blues singer Karen Lovely, who has performed regularly at Roscoe's for two years, said Roscoe's is a haven for tolerance in the valley.

"This is a safe place where people of all races can come to dance and listen to music," Lovely said. "The love here far outweighs anyone else's vitriol."

Moore said the police have told him they are working on some leads that may uncover the man who posted the messages.

Central Point police Lt. Josh Moulin, who supervises the area's high-tech crime unit, said Craigslist has a law enforcement compliance team that can help officers deal with violent posts.

"The standard is pretty high for police to take action," Moulin said. "The posts have to be direct threats of some kind that the suspect has a reasonable chance to act upon."

It is not known if the posts directed toward the Moores meet that standard.

By the end of the evening, Moore began showing signs of exhaustion. It had been a long couple of weeks, capped by a busy night. He did take a moment to join the night's band The Roadsters. Moore played bass for two songs before stepping offstage and disappearing into the crowd.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail

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