Anti-Semitic Message Left for Rockville Family

Police investigating incident as hate crime


Published:

This is an image of the message left for Mikey Franklin and his wife.

Twitter

Rockville city police are investigating a hate crime that occurred Saturday in Woodley Gardens in which an anti-Semitic message was left for a family that had hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner outside its condominium.

A message, written in block letters on notebook paper, objected to the banner and the Black Lives Matter organization.

“And for this we would like to award you a gold star. Enjoy the mayhem,” the letter reads. Drawn at the bottom is a six-pointed Star of David, colored yellow. Next to the star is written, “Jude,” resembling the label Jews were forced to wear when the Nazis ruled Germany.

Mikey Franklin said he found the message on the windshield of his car Saturday morning after wiping away snow. That morning, he noticed toilet paper was strewn across his property and eggs had been thrown at his home.

Franklin believes his family was targeted because it had recently hung a Black Lives Matter banner outside. 

“They were so threatened by the idea of racial justice that they used anti-Semitic Nazi imagery,” he said.

Franklin contacted police and posted the incident on Twitter. The news site BuzzFeed then wrote a story about the incident.

BuzzFeed quotes Rockville police Sgt. Christopher Peck as saying the message was not anti-Semitic.

“There’s nothing in there that is referenced that is anti-Semitic,” Peck said according to BuzzFeed. Peck said he didn’t know what the word “Jude” meant, according to the BuzzFeed report.

“Initially,” Franklin said, “the response was very, very concerning.”

Rockville police, however, issued a new statement Sunday afternoon saying the department was investigating the incident as a hate crime.

“An officer who was not on the scene commented about the incident based on a preliminary report of suspicious activity that indicated vandalism. His comments, as reported, were based on incomplete information and were incorrect,” the statement said.

“RCPD officers are committed to providing the highest levels of police services regardless of ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or immigration status and will receive additional sensitivity training,” the statement said.

The statement asked anyone with information to call the department’s Criminal Investigation Unit at 240-314-8938.

The Rockville incident follows several months of hate-related incidents, including a bomb threat Monday at Bender JCC of Greater Washington on Montrose Road. Other incidents include:

On April 27, swastikas were spray-painted at Welsh Park on Mannakee Street and at Beall Elementary School in Rockville. A witness told police he saw two teenage boys spray-painting swastikas in a wooded area near the school, but police were not able to locate the suspects.

On Oct. 28, someone used a “caustic substance” to create a swastika  on the grass of the Quince Orchard High School football field in Gaithersburg. A vehicle was captured by surveillance video.

Swastikas and other inappropriate images were spray-painted on banners, sidewalks and telephone poles Oct. 31 at Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda.

A “Black Lives Matter” sign at Christ Congregational Church in Silver Spring was vandalized on election night.

Multiple swastikas were drawn in a boys bathroom Nov. 11 at Westland Middle School in Bethesda.

The phrase “Trump Nation, Whites Only” was written Nov. 12 at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior at 1700 Powder Mill Road, Silver Spring, on a sign advertising the church's Hispanic service, and on a wall in the church's memorial garden that serves as a cemetery.

A swastika was spray-painted Nov. 21 on the front door of a Trump supporter, which police investigated as a possible case of “hate-biased” vandalism. The homeowner, who lives in Silver Spring, also reported an American flag hanging from a tree in his yard had been stolen.

On Dec. 9, a “derogatory, racial statement” was written on the wall of a restroom near third-grade classrooms at Woodlin Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Franklin said the incident at his home “forces you out of your cocoon of comfort.”

Franklin said he and his wife put up the Black Lives Matter banner because Jews are called to speak out for justice in the community. The banner came down Thursday because their condo association forced the couple to take it down.

The note won’t stop Franklin and his wife from fighting for social justice.

“I’m much more scared of the condo association than I am of any teenage Nazi,” he said.

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