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Politically-charged vandalism hits Iowa City neighborhood


The pillars of and picnic tables beneath the main gazebo at North Market Park were vandalized with various offensive messages. -- photo by Kelli Ebensberger
The pillars of and picnic tables beneath the main gazebo at North Market Park were vandalized with various offensive messages. — photo by Kelli Ebensberger

Earlier this week, locations next to Horace Mann Elementary School, including the 116-year-old hall that houses the Preucil School of Music, structures at North Market Park and an apartment building to the west of the park, were vandalized with spray-painted racial slurs and political messages.

Citizens reported the vandalism to the police on Monday and community members were already scrubbing off what they could and painting over the rest at the Preucil School and the apartment building on Tuesday morning. No permanent damage was apparent at any of the vandalized locations.

Although the workers at the apartment complex permitted photography, all declined to comment for fear of encouraging more acts of vandalism by sensationalizing the incidents.

Campaign slogan of president-elect Donald Trump, "Make America Great Again," marks the side of a apartment building's garage. -- photo by Kelli Ebensberger
Campaign slogan of president-elect Donald Trump, “Make America Great Again,” marks the side of a apartment building’s garage. — photo by Kelli Ebensberger

Due to the politically-charged nature of the messages — including a reference to president-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” — the vandalism appeared to be fueled in part by the divisive political climate and rhetoric.

Iowa City Police Sergeant Scott Gaarde said two police reports related to the vandalism have been filed, but there are currently no witnesses or suspects.

Any information about the incident should be reported to Iowa City Police at (319) 356-5275.


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