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Community meets over Pasadena racist graffiti

August 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pasadena takes charge against offensive graffiti after hate words pop up in one area of the city, raising concerns of possible tensions in the community.

Residents and police came together Saturday to take on the problem, saying hate messages painted on walls have no place in their neighborhoods.

Pasadena police held a meeting with community members after two acts of racist vandalism occurred in the northwest part of the city.

"There were numerous items -- cars, garages, city property -- that were tagged with what we've called extreme, very derogatory graffiti," said Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.

Residents are shocked and concerned about possible racial tensions in the area.

"It's devastating," said Pasadena resident James Green. "It's really devastating. I've actually been here since the '60s, and never once in my life seen anything as racial and as bad as it is now."

But police say the two incidents are not classified as hate crimes and no specific group was targeted.

"A lot of people were hit. In fact we have a number of victims that were across multiple racial lines," said Sanchez.

The first incident happened on August 8. Police say racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti were found over three blocks in the area.

The second incident happened on August 14 on the 2000 block of Fair Oaks. Police don't believe the incidents are related.

Still, community members and police want to make sure that the vandalism doesn't spark any further problems.

"We want to send the message that African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, whites, everyone does get along in Pasadena," said Randy Jurado Ertll, executive director, El Centro de Accion Social.

If you see taggers in action call Pasadena police immediately at (626) 744-4501. You can remain anonymous.

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