Vandals spray-paint racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in Marion

Marion City Park, April 15, 2021. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

A four-block stretch of 10th Street in Marion was vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas, during the early hours of Thursday morning.

“At least one vehicle was spray-painted, as were city streets, city sidewalks, light posts, and some businesses and homes between the 700 block and the 1100 block of 10th Street right in the heart of Marion,” Marion Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Daubs told Little Village.

Daubs said a total of 18 reports of property damage due to vandalism had been filed as of Friday morning.

The police have video surveillance footage of three individuals who appear to be teenagers that were in the area at the time of the incident and can be seen spray-painting at least some of the racist graffiti. The individuals have not been identified yet.

“We’re hoping that somebody is going to hear something and tell us,” Daubs said.

Video still of swastikas spray-painted along 10th Street in Marion on July 21, 2022. — KCRG

According to Daubs, incidents of spray-painted graffiti in Marion are typically limited to sporadic incidents beneath bridges and overpasses along the city’s trails. They also don’t often involve racist slurs or Nazi imagery.

“For this much of a spree, where there was more than just one or two structures or locations that were impacted, that’s rare,” Daubs said. “This kind of messaging is concerning and alarming as well, [and] definitely on the rare side.”

The MPD does not currently consider Thursday’s vandalism to be a possible hate crime, because no one home or business appears to have been specifically targeted. This is in contrast to spray-painted vandalism that happened in Marion two years ago.

In June 2020, someone vandalized the home of Prince and Cassie Hodges, spray-painting racist slurs on their house, garage and truck.

“I’m not concerned for myself because I’ve dealt with it before — I mean, not the spray paint but I’ve dealt with being called the n-word,” Prince Hodges told CBS-2 at the time. “I’ve been told to go back to countries I’ve never even been to. I’m more concerned for my children because I have to work, because I’m at work for 10 to 12 hours a day.”

MPD did investigate that incident as a potential hate crime. No arrests were ever made in connection with the vandalism.

Daubs asked anyone with information about Thursday’s vandalism to call MPD at 319-377-1511.

“This is an outlier-type issue for our community,” Daubs said about the racist graffiti. “But it’s definitely got our radar up.”

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