Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Press reported that the FBI and the ATF are investigating a fire and three instances of anti-Obama graffiti in Kentwood. According to the newspaper and other media reports, graffiti was found on three homes, including the one that was burrned. The graffiti read “die oboma [sic].” The newspaper reports that all of the homes targeted were occupied by African-Americans and WOOD TV 8 reported that at least two of the homes had Obama signs in their yard during the election.
The FBI is not calling the fire a hate crime and the Kentwood fire inspector has not ruled out all accidental causes.
Racial Attacks and Harassment since Obama’s Election
Since his election in November of last year, there have been several instances of anti-Obama graffiti mixed with racist symbols. Earlier this month, media in Texas reported that he Secret Service was investigating graffiti of Swastikas and the phrase “Obama will die” on homes under construction .
The Southern Poverty Law Center–which tracks racist groups–says that in the wake of Obama’s election there were over 200 racist incidents. These have included graffiti, harassment, and assaults.
Earlier this week, the federal government announced a plea in the case of a man attacked three African-Americans on election night. Ralph Nicoletti will serve twelve years in prison for the assaults.