Claremont Officials Say Swastika Graffiti ‘Cannot Be Tolerated’

Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Claremont — City officials released a joint statement on Tuesday condemning vandalism in which someone defaced a sign that said “End White Supremacy” by painting a red swastika over it.

Police are investigating the vandalism to the sign, which was on private property on Winter Street, along with “other similar acts of vandalism to this citizen’s property,” the statement from the City Council, city manager and Claremont Police Department said.

The investigation was launched when the graffiti was reported to police on Friday.

“Last week’s incident reminds us of the need to ensure that Claremont is a community in which all people are treated with respect,” the joint statement said. “Our property as a city is directly related to each individual’s ability to contribute to its success. Actions of violence, racism or discrimination against one another jeopardize this, and cannot be tolerated.”

Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said on Tuesday that the other acts of vandalism were signs that were damaged in some way on the Winter Street property. One of the signs, reading “Black Lives Matter,” was broken, but Chase said how the damage occurred and whether it was done intentionally remains under investigation.

The property owner didn’t report that incident to police until the latest vandalism occurred, Chase said. He declined to release the name of the property owner or the specific address.

There are other “Black Lives Matter” signs throughout the city, as well as other signs that promote a specific group, that haven’t been damaged, Chase said.

“There are signs supporting different agendas all over the community and people have a constitutional right to do that,” Chase said in an interview. “Damaging that and trying to subdue that voice ... is concerning. But in the same breath, that isn’t happening all the time.”

Claremont made national news this summer when an 8-year-old biracial boy said he was intentionally pushed off a picnic table by some teens while a rope was around his neck in an incident his family has characterized as a “lynching.” The boy was injured but recovered.

Continue reading after the statement from Claremont officials.