Vandalism, possible racist hate crimes in Antioch’s downtown Rivertown over the weekend

A church building on W. 3rd Street was tagged with swastikas and profanity late Sunday night or early Monday morning, Nov. 25 or 26, 2018. Photo by Allen Payton

Photo of possible downtown vandal. From APD Facebook page.

Police have security camera footage of suspect

By Allen Payton

Over 20 buildings, including churches, city hall, businesses and a mural, were hit with black spray paint by vandals over the weekend. Some of the taggings included swastikas and profanity. According to Denise Skaggs from the City of Antioch’s Code Enforcement a total of 22 locations were tagged.

Pastor Eugene Jackson of Church of God Holy, which recently relocated to W. Third Street from their previous location on A Street, said “I was informed by text by one of our members that there were swastikas on the building.”

“When I saw them My heart sunk and I’m deeply saddened, because of the history of racism…against black churches in America,” he continued. “We contacted police and the news media. We want this racist hatred to be exposed… because it does exist in Antioch.

“We just held our second service, yesterday after we purchased the building and closed escrow last week,” Jackson stated. “This is someone who has a disdain for people of color. We are praying for this sick individual.”

Pastor Eugene Jackson speaks in front of his vandalized church on W. 3rd Street, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Photo by Allen Payton

When asked when it occurred, he responded, “I was informed at about 8 a.m. It probably happened early this morning between 1 and 3 A.M.”

“The police did mention that there were other buildings that have been vandalized. One had an ATM which has a camera on it. So, they’re hoping that will help them identify the individual,” Jackson added.

Another building on W. Second Street, which is the location of another church, that was vandalized with spray paint. But it appears that an attempt was made to clean it up.

An historic mural on W. 4th Street, commissioned by the Antioch City Council in the late 1990’s, was vandalized, as well. Photo by Allen Payton

In a post on their Facebook page, Monday morning, the Antioch Police wrote, “Over this past weekend, our downtown area was heavily damaged by vandals. Numerous businesses and vehicles were defaced with offensive words and symbols. This criminal behavior is not reflective of our community or our beliefs. As a police department, we are aggressively investigating these crimes. As members of this community, we are saddened and disappointed. Clean-up has already begun and we are now reaching out to our community to help us in identifying the responsible(s). If you have any information that will assist us in our investigation, please contact our Dispatch Center at (925) 778-2441.”

Then at 12:43 p.m. the Antioch Police wrote on their Facebook page, “We have an update on our earlier post regarding vandalisms in the downtown area of our City. Though the case is still being actively investigated, we have located surveillance footage of the suspect. If you recognize him, please contact Antioch Police Dispatch (925) 778-2441.” They also posted several photos of the suspect.

UPDATE 5:00 P.M., 11/26/18 – Good news thanks to the City crews! Most of the damage was cleaned up. According to former Antioch Councilwoman Elizabeth Rimbault, who was on the council when the murals were commissioned in the mid-1990’s, called city staff to inform them, the murals in downtown have been treated with anti-graffiti material.

In addition, Rimbault said she was looking to start a fundraiser for a summertime repair to the paint that came off and some of the peeling.

the attachments to this post:

mural tagged

Pastor Jackson church

Photo of possible downtown vandal

Church tagged on 3rd St

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