EDMONDS — In less than a week, police responded to two separate reports of painted swastikas found in Edmonds and Tulalip.
On Monday, a Tulalip resident spotted a swastika and other Nazi symbols on an I-5 overpass, and notified County Councilwoman Megan Dunn, who forwarded the information to local officials for removal.
Last week, an Edmonds resident spotted swastikas on trees in Southwest County Park and reported them to City Councilman Luke Distelhorst, who passed that information to Mayor Mike Nelson’s office.
“Once again, hate has struck our community,” a joint statement from Executive Dave Somers and the Snohomish County Council said. “Once again, we must stand united against any people or groups that will use hate symbols, hate speech, or hate crimes to intimidate or harm members of our community. We know that neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and their accomplices continue to try and build more support across the Pacific Northwest and the country. We will continue to oppose them and their despicable acts.”
When officers arrived at the park in Edmonds, they found three trees with red swastikas and two with red star-patterned anarchist symbols, according to a police report.
“The use of symbols like swastikas is an act of hate, meant to harass and induce fear in those who encounter them,” the Edmonds mayor said in a statement. “Such continuing acts of hate, destruction of property, and intimidation to our residents will not be tolerated. We are taking action to ensure these acts don’t take place in our parks and community in the future.”
Both sets of graffiti have been removed.
“We also want to commend the community members who reported the incident in Edmonds and Tulalip,” the joint statement said. “These individuals recognized what they saw as tools of both anti-Semitism and hate, and a very real threat to people from historically marginalized communities. Because of their willingness to speak up, Snohomish County was able to immediately respond. We encourage anyone who witnesses or encounters acts of racism, bigotry, and hate to immediately report it to their local police department or an elected official.”
In Edmonds, Mayor Nelson announced a series of actions, including a town hall event, possible security cameras for local parks, plans for an anti-harassment program with the Edmonds School District, as well as other work with diversity and inclusion groups.