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BLM sign in Waldo vandalized with swastika over weekend

By Kendra Caruso | Aug 11, 2020
Courtesy of: Louisa Carl A "Black, Brown, LBGQT Lives Matter Too" sign is displayed in front of a Waldo woman's home after somebody spray-painted a swastika on it during the night of Aug. 7.

Waldo — Sometime between dusk Friday, Aug. 7, and dawn Saturday, Aug. 8, somebody spray- painted a swastika on Louisa Carl’s Black Lives Matter sign displayed in front of her home.

Her renter, who had found the desecration while leaving for work Saturday morning, called to inform her about the incident so she would not be shocked when she saw the sign.

The white mother posted her first BLM sign after her biracial 16-year-old son asked her to display one, she said. It was a smaller political sign staked in the ground, but was stolen a couple of weeks after it was posted.

Monday, Aug. 3, she and her son placed new BLM signs made of plywood secured to her mailbox so they would not be stolen, she said. One sign read “Black Brown LBGQT Lives Matter Too”; the other sign read “Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names! George Floyd, 46, Breonna Taylor, 26, Stephon Clark, 22, Tamir Rice, 12, Botham Jean, 26, Philando Castille, 32, Eric Garner, 43, 5,600 since 2000 Enough is Enough!”

Shortly after learning of the vandalism, they called Maine State Police at 8:47 a.m. and within 20 minutes a trooper showed up, Carl said. She had had issues with people stealing Obama campaign signs off her lawn in the past, but said she had never experienced anything like this in Waldo.

The state trooper took statements and collected evidence, but there is currently no lead in the case, even after talking with neighbors, Maine State Police Lt. Patrick Hood said. It is difficult to investigate incidents like this, because they almost always happen at night and leave little evidence. He said the swastika elevates the incident to a hate crime.

Hood said he is unsure if the person who committed the crime did it because of white supremacist views or if it was someone wanting to rile tensions with the homeowner. The vandalism reminds him of cases several years ago when someone was painting the hatchet man symbol, representing someone who is employed to carry out distasteful tasks, on public signs, but said it is unknown if the incidents are connected.

He said he has not noticed an uptick in acts of hate, but has noticed an increase in Biden, Trump and BLM political signs being stolen from peoples’ lawns.

The Maine Attorney General was contacted about the case because of the racist nature of the crime, he said. Private property vandalism is a class D criminal mischief misdemeanor with a maximum jail time of 364 days and up to $1,000 fine, but Hood said the crime is elevated because of the racial motivation.

Carl’s neighbor offered to help her repaint the sign, but she said the Holocaust and Civil Rights Center of Maine is interested in displaying it for current and historical context. She was able to cover one of the swastikas with a giant red heart on one of the signs, but does not know what to do with the other, more prominent swastika.

Her son went to his father’s house for two days because he did not feel safe staying at her house alone after the incident while she was going to be away organizing a Biden event, she said.

She and her son will continue to create signs supporting BLM and are considering posting a sign that asks people driving by what they are going to do to confront racism in their community. She does not know if the act was personal or if the person was triggered by the movement. But she said the rationale does not matter because either way it was an act of hate.

“I’m not sure what could be a more hateful thing than to put a swastika on a person’s property,” she said.

Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to call Trooper Einar Mattson at 624-7076.

Louisa Carl's Black Lives Matter sign, displayed in front of her Waldo home Aug. 8. She painted a red heart to cover up a swastika someone spray-painted the night before. (Courtesy of: Louisa Carl)
Two Black Lives Matter signs are displayed the week of Aug. 2 in front of a Waldo home before somebody spray-painted a swastika on them the night of Aug. 7. (Courtesy of: Louisa Carl)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Jennifer Hill | Aug 11, 2020 12:32

I live in the Town of Waldo and this ugly symbol of prejudice and hatred has no place here. We provide no haven for criminal minds in our lovely town of less than a thousand people.

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