Authorities are investigating after four swastikas were found painted over a famed African-American mural in South Los Angeles on Thursday morning.
The “Our Mighty Contribution” mural, located on Crenshaw Boulevard, was vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols scrawled over the faces of four female Black Panther Party figures, according to ABC 7. So far, police have no suspects.
The mural’s artist, Enkone Goodlow, had the graffiti cleaned up by Thursday afternoon. Curator Gregory Everett said this is the first time the mural, which depicts several African-American icons, including Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr., has been defaced in its 18 years of existence.
“People just have always had a lot of respect for that mural and what it represented in the community,” political consultant Jasmyne Cannick told The Los Angeles Times. “So even though this is a city like full of graffiti, that mural was usually untouchable.”
Cannick said she contacted the LAPD immediately after being alerted to the “devastating” vandalism.
LAPD Officer Jeff Lee described the case as an “isolated incident,” but said authorities are investigating it as a possible hate crime. He added that officers are canvassing the area for witnesses and surveillance video that may have captured the culprit.
“For a community that already feels like it’s being pushed out, and we have very little left around here, that wall is kind of a big deal,” Cannick said.
Goodlow said his inspiration for the mural of the four female Black Panthers was derived from a photo of ex-Panther leader Kathleen Cleaver. The 45-year-old is just one of dozens of artists who contributed to the two block-long mural celebrating the historical contributions of Black Americans.
Goodlow said he was distraught over the incident because he believes the Black Panthers and their mission were simply misunderstood.
“A lot of people thought that they were a hate group, and that they had a disdain hate for whites,” he told ABC 7. “The only thing that the Black Panthers had problems with, was hate itself. So someone who has hate in their heart would come and put hate going across their face.”
As reported by the L.A. Times, the vandalism comes less than a week after Seattle resident Mohamed Abdi Mohamed allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs before driving his car towards a pair of Jewish men leaving a synagogue in Hancock Park. Mohamed, 32, pleaded not guilty to assault with a deadly weapon this week.
Watch more in the video below.
Vandals deface Black Panther mural on Crenshaw Blvd. in #SouthLA with swastikas.
Posted by Jasmyne Cannick on Thursday, November 29, 2018