Huntsville Police, Rabbi share message to community after increase in antisemitic vandalism

In some of the cases the suspects could face federal charges.

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 7:29 PM

WAAY 31 is working to learn more about the multiple investigations going on in Huntsville after vandals spray painted messages of hate.

Huntsville Police found the latest messages of anti-semitic language and symbols on an overpass about 3 a.m. Tuesday along Memorial Parkway at Governors Drive.

The Alabama Department of Transportation was out Tuesday morning before the sun came up covering up the graffiti. Police said they believe what happened is related to the graffiti spray painted a few miles down the road earlier this month.

Rabbi Moshe Cohen with Chabad House of Huntsville said he has a message for the person or people responsible for spray painting anti-Semitic words and symbols are Huntsville.

"If you're doing it in the middle of the night either at my place at 1 o'clock in the morning or at 3 o'clock in the morning on the Parkway. You're being a coward," he said.

Police said they think the vandals who hit this month are different than the ones who targeted a Huntsville synagogue and Rabbi Cohen's home during Passover in April.

"We want a rock solid arrest. That's the type of arrest we make in these cases. We're not going to make a haphazard arrest only to lose that case," said Lt. Michael Johnson with Huntsville Police.

Cohen and Johnson both explained the messages spray painted around town do not represent the feelings of the majority of the community.

"It's something which was a shock. We never saw anything happening in Huntsville. We didn't experience any type of antisemitism happening in Huntsville," Cohen explained.

"It's serious from an image perspective. We definitely don't want this image on our city. The majority of our population do not feel what has been written on these walls as representative of our city," Johnson added.

Cohen said since all of the instances have happened after dark, he thinks the suspects know right from wrong.

"I do believe they think they're doing something that is wrong because they are doing it in the middle of the night," he explained.

Huntsville police said officers are stepping up patrol in the area and monitoring the Parkway to hopefully stop whoever is responsible from vandalizing it again.Police said the suspects are facing criminal mischief crimes in the two cases along the parkway.

The person of interest for the case at the Rabbi's house and on the synagogue could face federal hate crime charges.

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