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Arlington police ‘greatly disturbed’ by recent string of racist, anti-Semitic vandalism

A string of hateful acts of vandalism, including swastikas spray-painted on a black family’s garage door, have Arlington officials concerned, particularly amid recent tragedies across the country.

In a joint release Monday, the Arlington Police Department and Arlington Human Right said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the shootings in Orlando, Dallas, and “extrajudicial violence against the Black community.”

“The past few months have also seen several hate incidents right here in Arlington,” they said.

Mostly recently, a pair of swastikas were spray-painted on the garage doors of a black family’s Mystic Street home during this past weekend. The Arlington Advocate reported Monday that the family members were “long-time residents” of Arlington.

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“Prior to that, there was recurring racist and anti-Semitic graffiti at Ottoson Middle School, an unsolicited mailing of KKK material to someone’s home, and Black Lives Matter signs repeatedly defaced or destroyed at local houses of worship,” said the joint statement.

Twice during a three-week span in early spring, racist and anti-Semitic writing was found inside a bathroom of Ottoson Middle School, prompting school officials to notify police and alert the community.

As The Boston Globe reported, an 84-year-old Arlington woman, who fled the Nazis with her family from Austria, said she received a copy of the the KKK’s symbol in the mail after her letter to the editor was published in March.

And from last October to April, an Arlington church’s “Black Lives Matter” banner was vandalized five times, as the Globe chronicled. The church repeatedly replaced the sign, after it was the word “Black” was repeatedly defaced, drawn over, and slashed.

“We offer our unconditional support and solidarity to anyone who has been a victim of racism or anti-Semitism,” Arlington police and the town’s Human Rights Commission said Monday. “We are greatly disturbed by these recent events, and we assure you that we will not tolerate hateful acts in our town.”

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The two groups said they would “work closely” together to investigate and resolve hate incidents and asked the community to report any such act to the police (781-643-1212) and/or the Commission (781-316-3250, [email protected]).

“Our police department is wholly dedicated to the safety and security of all people, and our town services and agencies are committed to fostering not only a tolerant spirit, but an educated and enlightened one as well,” they said.

Additionally, the Commission said it would discuss how to response to hate incidents during a 8 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Jefferson Cutter House at 611 Massachusetts Ave.

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