NOVATO (KRON) — With racial tensions soaring across the nation, hate speech has hit the City of Novato.
Residents found racially charged graffiti on a vacant building in a historic part of town, and city leaders say this kind of act won’t be tolerated.
“This is not normal, this is not who we are, and this is not be tolerated,” City Councilmember Josh Fryday said.
KRON4 has blurred the racist graffiti captured by a passerby in the photo. The hateful language included the “N” word and other words and symbols.
Novato police say the graffiti was discovered by officers making their rounds Monday morning.
The Department of Public Works painted over it the next day.
“I think our whole community is saddened and outraged by this,” Fryday said.
The spray painted slurs were found at Hamilton Field at the old officer’s club across from the pool.
City councilmember Fryday lives down the street.
“We’re in a unique time where our values are going to be tested, and it’s now more important than ever that we stand up and make it very loud and very clear that any sort of intimidation or targeting of anyone is just not going to be tolerated,” Fryday said.
Lt. Oliver Collins says it’s unclear if the graffiti is related to the presidential election.
Polarizing results have since elevated racial tensions nationwide.
“However, the timing is rather close, and it could be perceived that way,” Collins said.
If caught, Collins says that the taggers could face vandalism charges.
As for a hate crime, Collins shot down that possibility.
“There’s no specific victim, so it does not meet the criteria for a hate crime, but it appears to be some hate motivation involved in it,” Collins said.
The actions were condemned by City Manager Regan Candelario.
“It’s not something that’s normal here in Novato, and its definitely not something that reflects our society or our society and our community here,” Candelario said.
Nevertheless, it is an issue, and councilman Fryday says it requires the public’s full attention.
“People know that we are so much better than this,” Fryday said.