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New Jersey Home and Church Vandalized with Swastika, Homophobic Slurs

Rick Geers spent more than two hours Monday applying thick coats of gray paint over remnants of a Swastika and anti-gay message tagged outside two of his rental properties on Adeline Street.

Police are trying to find whoever tagged the stairwell landing of two homes on the first block of Adeline Street sometime Saturday morning. A black spray-painted Swastika and a picture an an erect, ejaculating penis appeared along a message seemingly targeting tenants of the homes: “F*gs live here.”

The same morning, officers responded to the Trenton Church of God of Prophecy on the 300 block of Second Street after someone tagged “666” and “suck the devil’s d*ck” in red spray paint on an exterior door and wall of the Pentecostal church, according to police.

Trenton Police Capt. Stephen Varn said detectives are investigating the taggings as bias crimes and believe they could be linked because they happened around the same time leading to increased patrols in the areas.

Geers owns the Adeline Street properties and said neither of the Latino tenants are gay. He knew of at least one Jewish landlord who owns properties in the neighborhood.

“I’m not going to pooh-pooh the whole thing,” Geers said, as he took a break from painting. “If you look down the block, this was a ready-made canvas for some stupid [person]. We’re not taking it lightly.”

City officials aren’t, either, especially due to the rise in hate crimes under President Donald Trump who has used racially charged rhetoric throughout his time in office.

Extremism experts told The Associated Press in the aftermath of a deadly shooting rampage in El Paso this year that there could be a link with Trump’s incendiary political speech and the increase in hate crimes.

FBI statistics showed hate crimes rose 17 percent in 2017 (7,175 incidents)  compared to the previous year.

Mayor Reed Gusciora was elected Trenton’s first openly gay mayor last year in a city that previously had a bad rap for being unfriendly to the LGBTQ community.

He believes residents embrace differences evidenced by the turnout at last month’s Pride Parade, but the weekend taggings prove hate isn’t completely absent from New Jersey’s capital.

The city’s council president, Kathy McBride, was forced to apologize last month after she used the anti-Semitic phrase “Jew her down” at a closed-door meeting during lawsuit settlement discussions.

“Hate speech has no place in a diverse city such as Trenton,” Gusciora said. “It has caused alarm. We hope this is a singular incident and not a pattern. This also seems to be reverberating across the county, the freely practiced politics of destruction.”

Karen Medina, 25, lives in one of the tagged homes with her husband and two children, ages 3 and 1. The family moved in to the home this spring and hasn’t had any problems until last week.

Medina said her mother went out around 11 a.m. Saturday morning to purchase stuff from the corner store but didn’t notice any graffiti at that time. She believed the taggers hit around 11:15 a.m. while she cooked and the kids watched a movie.

A neighbor across the street pointed out the Nazi propaganda to Medina. She could make out the fresh smell of paint in the air and was shocked to learn what had happened.

“I was like what does that mean,” Medina said of the swastika. “Is it a gang? So, I got worried. We just moved here. We haven’t had no problems. I like it here.”

Medina called her next-door neighbor to tell her want happened. The neighbor wasn’t home when The Trentonian stopped by Monday afternoon, and she did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Soon, the homes swarmed with detectives.

Medina walked down the block to see if other residences were tagged, worried when cops suspected their homes were targeted, but found none.

Source: https://www.trentonian.com/news/trenton-church-homes-hit-with-demonic-anti-gay-graffiti-nazi/article_64942ee2-eeb7-11e9-874c-734ff23c3baf.html