GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following the vandalism of several gravestones at a Grand Rapids cemetery Monday, a local organization is calling on federal law enforcement to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
On Monday night, the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus issued a statement saying that graves at Ahavas Israel Cemetery were spray-painted with pro-Trump messages. Photos from Monday show the words “TRUMP” and “MAGA” painted on the graves.
The vandalism was found on election eve, the same day President Donald Trump held his last rally of the night in Grand Rapids. GRPD was dispatched to the cemetery that day. Officers said six headstones were spray-painted and that “it appeared the damage was new.”
"Make no mistake, this heinous act was committed on the eve of the 2020 election to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly, Jewish voters. But it has failed," the caucus said.
On Tuesday, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) called on federal law enforcement to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime. The group is also offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who contacts law enforcement with information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
“We call on federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the recent desecration of the Jewish cemetery as hate crime," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. "The sacred sites of people of faith must be protected from vandalism that is meant to spread fear and intimidation.”
GRPD is currently investigating the incident. Sergeant John Wittkowski said no suspects have been identified and that no evidence was left at the scene.
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