LAPD Vows to Catch Vandals Who Spray-Painted Swastikas on Black Panther Mural in LA - NBC Southern California

LAPD Vows to Catch Vandals Who Spray-Painted Swastikas on Black Panther Mural in LA

"We fill find you and we will prosecute you."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Swastika Graffiti Riddles Black Panther Mural in LA

    The mural has been around for decades, but overnight Thursday, someone spray-painted swastikas on African American leaders' faces. An artist who has worked on it for years came and fixed it right up, but the LAPD is considering it a hate crime. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News at 4 Nov. 29, 2018.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018)

    The Los Angeles Police Departmentvowed to catch the culprits behind a hate crime Thursday as a decades-old Black Panther mural in Los Angeles was defaced with swastikas. 

    "It's a shame because we did this mural for everybody," said Enkone, who is one of the artists who has worked on the Crenshaw Boulevard mural for decades.

    It's a timeline of African American history, he said, laid out in glorious color for all to enjoy.

    The vandalism, which is also being investigated as a possible hate crime, was reported about 11:45 a.m. in the area of 48th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard, according to Officer Jeff lee of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section.

    The swastikas were scrawled in white paint on the mural that depicts Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and others. 

    "We fill find you and we will prosecute you," said LAPD Capt. Alex Baez.

    No suspects were in custody, according to Lee, who said the vandalism appears to be an isolated act. Investigators were canvassing the area for witnesses and possible security camera images, he said.

    Enkone worked quickly after news came of the vandlism, and the mural was restored by Thursday afternoon. A special anti-graffiti coating allowed clean-up crews to wipe the hate symbols away. Enkone then did some touch-up work, restoring the details of the characters' faces.

    The graffiti also garnered reaction from local leaders. 

    "When people think of racism like this, they think about some far-off time in some far-off land. But this is today, in South Los Angeles, on Crenshaw. These are swastikas on Black faces. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," Congressmember Karen Bass tweeted.

    "This is yet another example of dangerous, racist sentiment and actions that are beginning to characterize this period of time, and we are not immune to it in Los Angeles," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

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