Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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FBI, Local PD Investigating Swastika, Antisemitic Messages in Dallas as Hate Crime


Update: The Ithaca Police Department provided an update into the investigation of antisemitic graffiti found on several businesses in the city, and say bomb making parts were found in the suspect’s home; more here.

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Local and federal law enforcement are investigating after a large swastika was painted atop an abandoned city of Dallas parking garage and could be seen from Reunion Tower.

Joey Zapata, an assistant city manager, emailed Mayor Eric Johnson and City Council members Monday that the property near Reunion Tower had been vandalized. The Dallas Morning News obtained a copy of the email.

The top floor of the garage had a giant swastika on it Friday night. Another swastika was painted on the garage with the words “Rise up! We are everywhere.” Anti-Semitic messages were tagged inside the garage, images obtained by The News showed. Crews cleaned it up over the weekend.

“The crime was initially reported to DPD by citizens who saw it from the Reunion Tower observation deck and it remains under investigation,” Zapata said in the email.

In a written statement, Johnson condemned the act and said Dallas is a welcoming city that values diversity.

“We will not tolerate this vile and hateful vandalism, nor will we be intimidated by it,” he said in the statement. “We have been working with our federal and state partners to identify whoever was responsible for this reprehensible display, and we will continue to work to ensure the safety of all of our residents”

Catherine Cuellar, a city spokeswoman, said the preliminary damage and cleanup had cost about $4,000. Improving barriers to the currently unused city garage is likely to add to the cost.

As of Tuesday, there was a large hole in a fence that is intended to block entry to the garage.

Asked why the crime had not been made public, Cuellar said the city did not want to impede the investigation.

The garage was attached to Reunion Arena before the arena was demolished. The City Council unanimously voted to shutter the Reunion Arena in the summer of 2008 after years of financial losses but left the 2,000-space parking garage.

Earlier this month, the FBI’s Dallas office alerted law enforcement that far-right extremist groups are likely to expand their influence and could pose a violent threat in North Texas, especially between Tuesday’s election and the presidential inauguration in January.

Melinda Urbina, an FBI spokeswoman, said the office was aware of the incident and was in contact with Dallas police.

“If in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate,” Urbina wrote in a statement. “The FBI is committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated, and we will continue to work with our community partners to address this issue.”

The Dallas Police Department said no arrests had been made in connection with the crime.

Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a police spokesman, said the department’s criminal intelligence unit, the Dallas Fusion Center and local, state and federal partners were investigating.

“The Dallas Police Department will apply its full resources to investigating this and any other type of hate crime against the citizens of Dallas,” the department said in a statement.

Council woman Cara Mendelsohn, who is Jewish, wrote in a statement Wednesday night the act wasn’t “just graffiti, it’s a disgusting display of hate and intimidation.”

“It breaks my heart to see it in Dallas, where we welcome people of all races and religions.”