Cars tagged with racist slurs near Colorado Springs synagogue where anti-Semitic graffiti found

By Hugh Johnson Updated: August 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm • Published: August 9, 2017
photo - Hundreds rallied at Bonforte Park in support of a Colorado Springs synagogue last Sunday after anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted on the synagogue's sign. Several cars on nearby streets in the Bon neighborhood also were tagged last Friday morning with racist slurs on the same day as the vandalism was found at the synagogue, police said.   (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)
Hundreds rallied at Bonforte Park in support of a Colorado Springs synagogue last Sunday after anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted on the synagogue's sign. Several cars on nearby streets in the Bon neighborhood also were tagged last Friday morning with racist slurs on the same day as the vandalism was found at the synagogue, police said. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Racist slurs were spray-painted across several cars in Colorado Springs' Bon neighborhood Friday, the same day that swastikas and other anti-Semitic epithets were found at the nearby Temple Beit Torah.

The "n" word was spelled out in large letters across the side of Luanne Ducett's gold-colored sedan, parked near North Royer and Fontanero streets, and Ducett said swastikas and other symbols were painted on her neighbors' properties.

"It doesn't make any sense that anyone is this hateful," Ducett said. "I'm very passionately against racism in any way, shape or form, so the fact that my car got hit with this really hits home."

Reports about the assault on nearby Temple Beit Torah spurred hundreds of people to rally Sunday in Colorado Springs to denounce bigotry.

And police spokesman Lt. Howard Black said he received calls from around the state regarding the vandalism. Police would not comment on the case, however, saying they still are investigating.

The Rev. Ahriana Platten, of Colorado Springs' Unity Spiritual Center in the Rockies, attended Sunday's rally.

Wednesday, she emphasized the importance of the community's stand against hate. She said it's important to find those responsible, but the community's support makes a huge difference in the lives of the victims.

Rosemary Lytle, president of the NAACP conference for Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, confirmed that at least seven cars were spray-painted, some with racial epithets.

As for the victims, Lytle said, "Whether they are a person of color or not, it affects all of us. It affects those it happens to; it affects those who have to view it; it affects all of us.

"There are many things going on in our world that seek to divide and create division instead of unity and love. Those things are happening, and those things are constantly present."

At the temple, a swastika and the words "sig (sic) heil" - for "sieg heil," a Nazi salute - were scrawled on one side of the synagogue's sign. And the word "sig" was painted near the building's south entrance.

The Anti-Defamation League's Denver office said there has been a significant increase in anti-Semitic acts in Colorado over the past two years, rising from 18 in 2015 to 45 last year and it appears there could be more than 60 by the end of this year.

"It's not the first time, and it won't be the last time," Rabbi Steven Kaye told The Gazette on Friday. "We have faith, and we go forward."

In a Wednesday email to The Gazette, Lytle said, "We would rather that Colorado Springs would experience no hatred and discrimination. Ever!"

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