Miami Beach Police Treating Graffiti As Hate Crime
South Florida Crime
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach police have launched an investigation after hate-filled graffiti was found at four locations around the city.
The letters ‘KKK’, a target symbol and what could be a stylized letter “A” (for anarchy) were found scrawled on the walls and buses at the Scott Rakow Youth Center at 2700 Sheridan Avenue. The were also found at painted on a homeless outreach center on 17th Street, at the Bessie D Galbut women’s prayer center at 25th and Pinetree Drive and at a condominium at 28th and Sheridan Avenue.
The vandalism came on the sixth night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights.
“It’s terrible. The best thing we did was to move very quickly, we removed it and they won’t see it. As we drive around the buses and pick up the children this afternoon, it’s already picked up,” said Julio Magrisso, with the city’s parks and recreation department.
Police are treating the graffiti as a hate crime, a felony under Florida law.
“The Miami Beach Police Department and the City of Miami Beach does not tolerate hate against any members of our community and we will do whatever we have to do to get these individuals and make sure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Det. Vivian Hernandez.
Crime Scene Investigators in Miami Beach, as part of the investigation, photographed Charlie Ajaj’s vandalized condo.
“I think this is kids but either way it’s terrible. It hurts people, it’s vandalism and it’s property damage. I hope they catch them,” Ajaj told CBS4’s Nelson.
The Anti-Defamation League that studies hate and hate groups meeting in Miami concluded this most likely wasn’t the work of any organized group.
“There were mixed symbols…there were KKK symbols and an anarchy symbol and it is very unlikely that these two groups would be working together,” said Hava Holzhauer with the Anti-Defamation League.
Police are checking security tapes and investigating in hopes to find the people or person responsible for what they are considering a hate crime. If you have any information, or saw something between the hours of 9 p.m. and daybreak, contact authorities.