Police Investigate Graffiti Vandalism at Park as Hate Crime

Published on March 23, 2021

Palo Alto, CA – Police are investigating a vandalism case at a park as a hate crime, as an unknown suspect used spray paint to write a racial epithet on concrete near a playground.

On Sunday, March 21, 2021, at about 10:09 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call reporting a vandalism just discovered at Heritage Park at 300 Homer Avenue. The reporting party, an adult male, told police that he had been walking in the park when he noticed blue spray paint near the playground area.

Officers observed blue spray paint in several areas. Of most concern was a short sentence that included a racial epithet written in about five-inch tall letters on a concrete curb set in the ground that separates grass from dirt. The epithet was a racial slur directed at African Americans. On a nearby wall with decorative tiles, there was more blue spray paint in the form of male genitalia. Two first names were also painted (one on the tile, one on the ground), as was some bark on a park tree. Police also found 15 to 20 empty cans of alcohol that were spray painted. Officers collected the discarded cap of a blue spray paint can as evidence. A Public Works crew promptly removed the paint.

While it is not known for certain, police believe it is likely the crime occurred overnight from Saturday into Sunday. There is no suspect information at this time.

In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigating any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto. Last night, the Palo Alto City Council denounced violence directed at people of Asian descent, and that has come on the heels of months of efforts with City Council’s ongoing conversations and work on race and equity. The City of Palo Alto strongly denounces hate crimes of all kinds, and encourages members of our community to promptly report these incidents by calling our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413, or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

Anyone with information about this incident or any other hate crime in our community is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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