City leaders condemn anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic messages seen in Austin

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The Austin Police Chief responded to reports of a banner posted on MoPac, as many city leaders spoke out against inappropriate graffiti at Anderson High.

AUSTIN, Texas – City leaders are speaking out, condemning the incidents of anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic messages seen around Austin since Friday and this weekend.

More recently there have been reports of a banner displayed on TX-Loop 1 or MoPac Expressway. Police did not say what the comments or the language on the banner said, but Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon addressed the banner on Sunday, claiming that messages have no place in the capital.

here is Chacon’s full statement about the banner:

“Let’s be clear. Hate and fanaticism have absolutely no place in our community and are certainly not welcome in our police department. The views shared by protesters during a protest action this weekend were hateful and do not reflect our values. Screenshot of an incident over two hours long does not tell the whole story. I ask our community not to buy into the hate and images that have been taken out of context on social networks After suffering an avalanche of hate speech and personal insults that were uttered to them, the agents who intervened on the scene calmly and professionally fulfilled their duty to ensure the safety of drivers on the site. MoPac, passers-by and protesters while ensuring that the incident does not escalate and that no laws are broken. Comply with its demands to ensure the scene remains safe. conversation, the responding supervisor declined a handshake request and instead opted for a punch citing COVID-19 safety protocols. APD remains vigilant in its priority of keeping the community of Austin safe and holding those who commit crimes to account. “

Shalom Austin, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for Jews in the greater Austin area, called the MoPac banner “extremely upsetting and disturbing.”

Here is the full statement released by Shalom Austin:

“We are writing to inform you of an anti-Semitic incident that took place earlier this afternoon on the Far West Viaduct at Mopac. A small group of individuals hung an anti-Semitic banner on Mopac. They have since left this area. the incident does not appear to be related to the appalling vandalism that occurred at Anderson High School this week.

We understand that this is extremely upsetting and disturbing. We are always vigilant in monitoring anti-Semitic groups and work closely with law enforcement to share information about their activities. The goal of this group is to attract attention by being as offensive as possible. The Austin Police Department is aware, has been incredibly supportive, and has been monitoring and observing the situation closely. We spoke this evening with Chief Joseph Chacon and he reaffirmed his support for our community. We understand that they may have plans to conduct additional business in Austin and elsewhere in Texas over the next few days. Given their recent activities, we would expect this to involve protesting in a public space where they can attract attention. If you see them, interacting with them is not advised.

We wanted to let you know that we continue to monitor the situation and work with our local law enforcement to keep our community safe. We also remain in close contact and coordination with all local congregations and Jewish organizations to combat hatred and anti-Semitism.

We are grateful to our allies and colleagues for providing support. “

As stated in Shalom Austin’s statement, this comes after offensive and racist words and symbols were painted on several student parking spaces at Anderson High School on Friday.

Mayor Steve Adler responded to reports from Saturday’s hate speech, tweeting, “I’m heartbroken to see anti-Semitic hatred in Austin, a welcoming and respectful place. Hatred of any kind has no place in our city. If you will. see or hear it, you must report it to @ADL. “

Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha Harper-Madison tweeted saying “a cowardly, deplorable and targeted attack not only on high school students, but on our community as a whole. We don’t tolerate it in East Austin. We don’t tolerate West Austin. We don’t tolerate it in Austin . “

City Councilor Alison Alter also spoke on Saturday about anti-Semitic graffiti seen at Anderson High School.

“Yesterday, students at Anderson High School were confronted with anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist graffiti upon arriving at school. This hatred is unacceptable in our community. We must all speak out against it. [I am not posting a photo because I don’t want to circulate hate.] #No hate, ” Alt tweeted.

Member of the board Greg Casar congratulated Alter for his comments.

“Thank you @ALTERforATX for denouncing this anti-Semitism, this homophobia and this racism”, Casar added.

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