Racist and pro-Trump graffiti appears in South Philly following election

Graffitti at Sixth and Carpenter Streets in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

South Philadelphia residents awoke Wednesday to find racist and pro-Trump graffiti spray painted on their storefronts, cars, and homes.

Police said officers responded to reports of vandalism to a house and three cars on the 900 block of South Sixth Street in the Bella Vista section around 8:30 a.m.

One of the damaged cars was a white SUV that had "Trump Rules" and "Black Bitch" spray-painted across it in large black letters.

The 62-year-old owner of the car is a black woman who asked that her name be withheld. She said her first reaction was: "Oh, my God."

"I went straight to the police station," she said. "They were stunned."

When she left the station, she was approached by a white woman out walking her two dogs.

"She was crying so hard, and she said, 'Who would do such a thing? We're not like that,' " the woman recalled. "She was crying, and I just said, 'Come here, you need a hug.' "

A video of that encounter posted to Facebook had 38,000 views as of 6 p.m. It shows the calm victim comforting the shaken dog walker.

"Don't be broken about this," the victim says.

"Two steps forward, one step back," the white woman says.

The motorist took her vehicle to a South Philadelphia auto body shop. She later received a call from a worker there.

"He told me he had two people who were white offer to pay for my car but he told them I had insurance," she said. "It brought tears to my eyes. There's still good people out there."

Around 10:44 a.m., police responded to the 1300 block of South Broad Street in Point Breeze, where a swastika, the words "Sieg Heil 2016," and the word "Trump" with the 'T' replaced by a swastika were spray-painted on the windows of an empty fur store on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom of 1938.

At 1:10 p.m., police said, they were called to Broad and Reed Streets in Point Breeze, where a utility box had "Trump" and a swastika painted on it.

Administrators and parents of students at the Meredith School at Fifth and Fitzwater Streets in Point Breeze also reported seeing such graffiti on buildings near the school.

"It was in the community, and the kids were noticing it on the way to school," principal Lauren Overton said. "It was a super-difficult day to be a school leader, because kids had a lot [of questions] they wanted answered."

Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, whose child attends Meredith, said she and her child noticed the graffiti on their way to school Wednesday.

"If we were to put any president's name on that wall, it wouldn't be an offensive thing, but unfortunately, Trump has made himself synonymous with hateful rhetoric," she said.

Van Cleve said neighbors made calls to the city, and she and three other residents made "politically neutral" posters with messages that read "Love your neighbors" and "Love always wins" that they placed over the graffiti.

"We wanted whoever did it to know that our community would take a stand for humanity and a stand for peace," she said.

Police have not made any arrest in any of the cases.

Regardless of the motivation for the graffiti, the 62-year-old woman whose car was spray-painted said she's not letting it get her down.

"You cannot allow people to take your joy away from you. Once they take your joy, then they are in control of you," she said. "I am not going to allow that to happen. It will all be OK."

farrs@phillynews.com

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