Ellensburg police investigating graffiti depicting anti-Semitic symbols, racial slur

Ellensburg Graffiti

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Authorities have launched an investigation into more than a dozen spray-painting vandalism incidents early Friday morning in Ellensburg, some depicting anti-Semitic symbols and at least one involving a racial slur.

Ellensburg police responded about 1 a.m. to reports of two people walking through the area of 17th Avenue and Glen Drive, carrying spray cans in their hands. Arriving officers found 13 incidents of graffiti in the neighborhood.

Capt. Dan Hansberry said while most of the graffiti appeared to be random, there were “inappropriate images,” several swastikas painted on the side of a house and the N-word painted on the back of a pickup truck.

Hansberry said about half of the vandalism was to vehicles in the area, some with lines spray painted on the sides of the cars and others with mirrors or windshields blacked out by paint. The other half targeted mailboxes and houses.

“No victims at this point, including that of the racial slur, feel they were targeted due to their race or beliefs,” the police department said in a Facebook post.

Police said while the victims appear to have been selected at random, the suspect’s choice of words and symbols were not and that the city rejects such extreme views and messaging.

At this point, Hansberry said the vandalism is being investigated as malicious mischief, but that the investigation will include any elements of a hate crime.

“It’s very disturbing and frightening that anyone would spray paint those words, but it doesn’t look like it was targeted at individuals,” Hansberry said.

Officers are looking into whether a possible altercation outside a nearby home where a small gathering was being held may be related to the spray-painting incidents.