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Officer cleans up car spray painted with racist grafitti

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    UNION CITY, Calif. (KPIX) — The racist graffiti and profanity spray painted all over a car in Union City is gone thanks to an officer investigating this case of vehicle vandalism as a hate crime, but the stain remains.

It happened on Sunday night. Officers were called to a car parked on Almaden Blvd. because of the graffiti spray painted on both sides of it. Written in black paint on the white car were curse words and racial slurs.

“In addition to the racist messages, the front windshield was smashed. Police believe the crime was an angry response to a pair of “Black Lives Matter” signs in the car’s windows.

“Vandalism with this racial intent to scare or harm a person is a felony and so is the damage that was done to the vehicle,” said Lt. Steve Mendez. “So, yeah, we’re looking at a person who could be looking at some felony charges against him.”

Reaction from the neighborhood Wednesday ranged from fear to disgust.

“There’s no place for this kind of thing in society. I don’t know why they’re doing that,” said Sukhbir Sidhu, who works in Union City.

“To have this written on a car…it’s pretty…scary,” said Cathy Lee.

“You can’t really get shocked every time it happens. A reaction is what the people who did it want out of you,” said Binyam Abraha who lives in the neighborhood.

As a 17-year old black man, he says he is already exhausted by the racism he’s seen in his young life and doesn’t want to give the vandal the satisfaction of an angry response.

The car’s graffiti has all been erased. After finishing his investigation on Sunday, Officer Justin Noyd collected cleaning supplies from the Public Works Department and personally removed the racist messages.

“You know, he just… he just felt very strongly about what occurred and wanted to make sure that the victim wasn’t going to continue to be victimized by having this on his vehicle,” said Lt. Mendez.

It seemed like a heartfelt gesture but Abraha couldn’t bring himself to give the officer any credit for making the effort.

“I just think stuff like that shouldn’t be done by police officers,” he said. “We’re asking you to do your actual job, not clean cars.”

It is a sign of just how deep the rift is between police and many in the black community.

“I hate the argument not all cops are bad cops,” Abraha said. “Sure, they might not be bad humans, but cops are bad.”

Investigators say they are still seeking whoever vandalized the car and are asking anyone in the public who may have information to contact the Union City Police Department.

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