Police are investigating an incident of racist slurs and hateful images that were carved into the sand at Lake Mansfield’s swimming beach. The images include at least four large swastikas, racist slurs against Black people, anti-gay slurs and expletives.
James Garzon was having his morning coffee at the beach Wednesday when he looked down and spotted the images. The names Wallace and Clare were also carved into the sand.
Garzon said the culprits clearly had used children’s toys — a yellow sand fork and a green shovel — to make the racist display.
He took photos and immediately sent them to town officials. Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti said he is investigating the case.
These weren’t the photos Garzon was hoping to take this morning on his routine walk. “The lake is like a mirror,” he said, “there were some geese and ducks.”
Today there was pain. “It’s about the community. That’s what hurts,” he said.
Finding out who carved the images might prove difficult. There are no surveillance cameras at the beach, and the crime happened overnight. Storti said he is working with security from Bard College at Simon’s Rock who monitor the area.
The last publicly reported incidents of hateful graffiti in town were a swastika carved into a bathroom stall at Simon’s Rock in 2019, and another painted on the side of a church in 2020. Last year officials investigated a swastika painted on a section of a rail trail in Adams. Other racist graffiti in the county in recent years includes the N-word painted on the garage door of a Lanesborough man in 2018.