News

Police investigate hate vandalism at city park

Racial epithets were directed at white people, agency says

Palo Alto police are investigating a hate crime at El Camino Park, where officers found racial slurs scrawled in the public restroom on May 7, 2021. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

A vandalism case at El Camino Park is being investigated as a hate crime, Palo Alto police said on Tuesday.

On Friday, at about 7:40 p.m., officers who responded to a call from a passerby found racial slurs scrawled in black marker in several areas in the public restroom, which is located in the park at 155 El Camino Real. The writings were found on the stalls and walls, police said.

The writings included racial epithets directed at white people. A city Public Works crew promptly removed the vandalism. The incident likely occurred on May 6 or May 7, police said.

Investigators didn't have any suspect information as of Tuesday morning. There isn't a known connection between this case and a hate crime vandalism reported March 21 at Heritage Park on Homer Avenue, police said. In that incident, hate messages were spray-painted on a concrete curb near a children's play structure. The messages were directed at African Americans.

"In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto," police said in a statement.

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In late March, the Palo Alto City Council denounced violence directed at people of Asian descent after months of work, including by the Human Relations Commission, on racial equity. A blog post from the city titled "Steps the Community Can Take to Help Stop Hate Crimes" discusses the city's efforts.

Anyone with information about this incident or other hate crimes is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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Police investigate hate vandalism at city park

Racial epithets were directed at white people, agency says

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, May 11, 2021, 9:53 am

A vandalism case at El Camino Park is being investigated as a hate crime, Palo Alto police said on Tuesday.

On Friday, at about 7:40 p.m., officers who responded to a call from a passerby found racial slurs scrawled in black marker in several areas in the public restroom, which is located in the park at 155 El Camino Real. The writings were found on the stalls and walls, police said.

The writings included racial epithets directed at white people. A city Public Works crew promptly removed the vandalism. The incident likely occurred on May 6 or May 7, police said.

Investigators didn't have any suspect information as of Tuesday morning. There isn't a known connection between this case and a hate crime vandalism reported March 21 at Heritage Park on Homer Avenue, police said. In that incident, hate messages were spray-painted on a concrete curb near a children's play structure. The messages were directed at African Americans.

"In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto," police said in a statement.

In late March, the Palo Alto City Council denounced violence directed at people of Asian descent after months of work, including by the Human Relations Commission, on racial equity. A blog post from the city titled "Steps the Community Can Take to Help Stop Hate Crimes" discusses the city's efforts.

Anyone with information about this incident or other hate crimes is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Comments

Ethel Steinman
Registered user
Professorville
on May 11, 2021 at 11:01 am
Ethel Steinman, Professorville
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 11:01 am

This type of vandalism tends to be more prevalent among youths and even in a respectable & upscale community such as Palo Alto there are no exceptions when it comes to someone expressing their contempt towards another ethnicity.

Ethnic hatred is running rampant these days and everyone is a potential target.

Much of this devisiveness can be attributed to former President Trump whose lack of decorum and tact spewed even more hatred among undereducated, militant white supremacists and aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd which gave rise to the BLM movement.

And now we have unwarranted hate crimes being perpetrated against members of the Asian community.

Where does this all end and will it ever, or are these incidents simply reflective of humans in general when fear and bigotry supercede common decency?

General MacArthur has often been referred to by historians as 'the American Caesar' and Donald Trump may someday go down in history as 'the American Hitler', a well-deserved title based on his diatribes against those he either despised or wished to ignore as human beings.


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 11:44 am
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 11:44 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Bill Glazier
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2021 at 12:20 pm
Bill Glazier, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 12:20 pm

I walked into this bathroom at El Camino Park on Saturday at about 4PM. I was stunned by what I saw, and immediately called the non-emergency Police Number. The dispatcher told me the incident had been reported, and they had 'passed it on to Public Works'. I insisted this was insufficient, and something needed to be done immediately - that they did not want one more young kid walking into this bathroom and becoming confused and upset by what they saw. Many of my young players were going to the bathroom in between games, and they were bewildered as they exited this bathroom with these sayings on it. I told the Police Dispatcher that without a doubt this would make Palo Alto Online or the San Jose Mercury News, and the sooner they shut this down, the better for all concerned. I had to become fairly caustic in my warnings before the Dispatcher finally said she would pass this on to her Supervisor. I do not know when they finally closed the bathroom or covered the graffiti. They said they 'think' it happened Thursday or Friday. By late Saturday, nothing had been done.

On a side note, it is impossible know whether the graffiti artist was a person of color unhappy with white people, or a white person imitating a person of color and seeking to encourage mistrust and hate. It doesn't matter I guess. But my point is the Police should have closed the 'Hate Crime ' scene much sooner than they did.


Andrew Clark
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 11, 2021 at 12:49 pm
Andrew Clark, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Non-violent hate crimes are low priority to most PDs. They are not going to respond immediately to some offensive writing on a wall.

The Parks & Rec Department is directly responsible for having the offensive writings painted over.

Like is the PD going to put out an APB for anyone seen carrying a can of spray paint?

The police have far more important things to do.


Bill Glazier
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Bill Glazier, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 1:03 pm

Andrew Clark -

Clearly, no one should ask the PD to hunt people with spray paint cans. I asked them to come to El Camino Park and close the restroom, so that dozens, perhaps hundreds of kids over the weekend would not be treated to this hate-fest on steroids. Until you saw it, you have no idea how bad it was. Parks and Rec or Public Works or whomever could take their sweet time to come and repaint as their schedule permits, and as Union contracts allow.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on May 11, 2021 at 1:33 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 1:33 pm

I agree with Andrew Clark. The police do prioritize, and graffiti on the bathroom wall isn't the same as violent felonies. They do have far more important things to do. I appreciate Bill Glazier and his protection of children -- something I'm 100% in favor of at all times. But you have to be reasonable. If it's already been reported, let Public Works do their job.


Aletheia
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on May 11, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Aletheia, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Keep in mind that more than half of the time these types of incidents are perpetrated by the individuals to whom are being victimized in the slurs.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2021 at 5:14 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Lots of theories here as to who did this, why and whether there was an assumed idea of attempting to lay blame elsewhere by someone of the slurred race. Obviously all things are possible. Another theory is that it is just copycat behavior from someone too immature to understand the seriousness of what they are doing.

I am reminded of a 7 year old not unknown to me who many years ago found a carelessly left spray paint can left by utilities people who had been painting marks on the street for upcoming work. This 7 year old decided to do the same marking as he had seen all over the street by adding some smiley faces and his own name. Since most of what had been marked by the utilities crew was code easily misunderstood, his own name and face was his idea of copying the crew.

Graffiti is vandalism. Slurs turn it into something much more serious. Our own behavior is being copied by many who may not understand the gravity of their actions. We must be careful what messages we are sending to those too young, or perhaps too ill, to completely understand.

Just another theory to put into the mix.


John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2021 at 6:19 pm
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 11, 2021 at 6:19 pm
Longtime Resident
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 12, 2021 at 12:12 am
Longtime Resident, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 12:12 am

Can't we stop selling spray paint in California?
I don't like graffiti anywhere - whether it is meant to send a message, or be considered "art" on the wall of a business. It doesn't look nice.
I don't even like it when public works crews use it on our streets and sidewalks. Our street and personal drive way have marks which were left by workers years ago when a pole was installed to protect a gas meter in our driveway. I had to finally get on my hands and knees and scrub it off with chemicals myself.

Can't we all use chalk spray instead of paint? It doesn't rain much.


Robbie B.
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 12, 2021 at 6:34 am
Robbie B., Downtown North
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 6:34 am

"Can't we stop selling spray paint in California?"

FYI...spray paint has other uses besides graffiti and vandalism.

It would be very difficult to refurbish outdoor patio furniture and bicycles with chalk.

"I don't even like it when public works crews use it on our streets and sidewalks."

It would also be very difficult to maintain crosswalks and street divider markers with chalk for obvious reasons.

The only way to initiate your concept would be a CA state requirement that requires purchasers of spray paint to complete a use permit at the time of purchase along with providing a valid ID.


Neal
Registered user
Community Center
on May 12, 2021 at 6:47 am
Neal, Community Center
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 6:47 am

Unless we know exactly what was written, it's hard to know how seriously to take this event. This latest bit of vandalism was created with a black marker. If spray paint isn't available vandals will find alternatives.


Robbie B.
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 12, 2021 at 6:55 am
Robbie B., Downtown North
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 6:55 am

"This latest bit of vandalism was created with a black marker. If spray paint isn't available vandals will find alternatives."

True. Sharpies can be used for more than autographing sports memorabilia.


Squidsie
Registered user
another community
on May 12, 2021 at 11:23 am
Squidsie, another community
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 11:23 am

Publicizing vandalism and going into breathless hysterics over it, just encourages it. Vandals, racist and otherwise, are usually just bored, brain dead kids seeking to create some drama. This sort of reaction may provide lots of opportunity for sputtering indignation and virtue signaling, but just gives them the attention they crave.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm

"Where does this all end and will it ever, or are these incidents simply reflective of humans in general when fear and bigotry supercede common decency?"

Unfortunately, the answer is most likely where it usually ends in multicultural societies: sectarian violence.


RV Mama
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2021 at 3:16 pm
RV Mama, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 3:16 pm

>>"Unfortunately, the answer is most likely where it usually ends in multicultural societies: sectarian violence."

Why is it that multicultural societies have more societal and economic problems than homogenous societies?

France is on the verge of revolution due to its unchecked immigration policies and the resultant lack of assimilation on the part of its Muslim community.


Esther Bergman
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2021 at 3:31 pm
Esther Bergman, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 3:31 pm
loren freeman - m.b.a.
Registered user
Stanford
on May 12, 2021 at 4:20 pm
loren freeman - m.b.a., Stanford
Registered user
on May 12, 2021 at 4:20 pm

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