‘Make America White Again:’ Hate speech and crimes post-election
(CNN) — Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crimes have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump’s presidential win. And the list of incidents keeps growing.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has counted more than 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States between November 9, the day after Election Day, and November 16.
“They’ve been everywhere — in schools, in places of business like Walmart, on the street,” the center’s President Richard Cohen said this week.
Critics accused Trump of fostering xenophobia and Islamophobia during the divisive presidential campaign. Recent days have witnessed ugly episodes of racist or anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti along with threats or attacks against Muslims.
The President-elect has said he was “so saddened” to hear about vitriol hurled by some of his supporters against minorities.
“If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it,” Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
In a video statement released Friday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said FBI statistics for 2015 showed a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans. Hate crimes against Jewish people, African Americans and LGBT individuals also increased.
Overall, reported hate crimes spiked 6%, but the number could be higher because many incidents go unreported, Lynch said.
“These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans,” she said. “We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement, as well as the Justice Department, so that our career investigators and prosecutors can take action to defend your rights.”
And it’s not just incidents of hate crimes that have happened since the election; there have been reports of other attacks, too. A man in Chicago reportedly was beaten as a bystander yelled, “You voted Trump!” And two men in Connecticut were arrested over assault allegations against a Trump supporter.
Here’s what some Americans are dealing with across the country:
INTIMIDATION, VIOLENCE AFTER TRUMP WIN
‘Go home’ scrawled on car
A Puerto Rican family’s car was vandalized on November 17, with the words “Trump” and “Go home” scratched into the car in West Springfield, Massachusetts, according to police and one of the victims, who spoke to CNN.
Jorge Santiago, an Army veteran who has served two deployments overseas, noticed scratches in the family’s red sedan after he put his daughter on the bus to school, said his wife, Toni Santiago. He reported the vandalism to the West Springfield police soon afterward, she said.
West Springfield Police Department Capt. Daniel Spaulding said detectives are following up and the investigation is ongoing. They have not determined whether it was a hate crime.
The Santiagos are the only minority family on their street, Toni Santiago said. Their family supported Hillary Clinton during the election, but they didn’t have any signs on their lawn, Santiago said. They have one small Clinton sticker on their other car parked in their driveway closer to the house, which was not vandalized, Santiago said.
“It is terrible. It is horrific, and still, in a way, I’m not surprised,” Santiago said. “Racism was always there, but I feel now with our current President having been so vocal in some of the things he says, people feel more comfortable showing that racism, and our family was a target of it.”
Both Toni and Jorge are US citizens, Santiago said. Jorge was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Massachusetts for many years, Santiago said. Toni grew up in Massachusetts and is a social worker in nearby Holyoke, Massachusetts, she said. They have three children, ages 2, 8 and 12. Toni posted a photo of the vandalism to Facebook and shared it with CNN.
“My first reaction is we need to get this out. We need to do something,” Santiago said. “People think ‘it’s not going to happen in my town,’ or Massachusetts is a liberal state, but this is real hate, and it’s not OK.”
Uber driver verbally assaulted
A motorist in a white SUV unleashed this hateful rant last week at an Uber driver in New York City.
The Uber driver, a Muslim and a US citizen originally from Morocco, captured the incident on video. It occurred in the Astoria section of Queens on November 17.
The Uber driver told CNN the motorist cut him off, yelled at him and continued to follow him for a few blocks.
When they both pulled up to a stop, the man asked the Uber driver to roll down his window. The motorist then spewed profane and racist abuse at the man.
One quote: “Trump is president a******, so you can kiss your visa goodbye, scumbag. They’ll deport you soon, don’t worry, you f***ing terrorist.”
The Uber driver, who came to the United States about seven years ago, asked CNN that his name not be used over concerns for his and his family’s safety.
Chris Cody, the Uber driver’s next passenger, asked him how his day was going. The driver explained what had just happened and showed Cody his video, Cody told CNN.
Cody asked if he could post it on social media and share it with others, he told CNN.
Later that day, Cody put the video on his Facebook page, writing, “this is not a political post… this is a post about the disgusting mentality that some uneducated & xenophobic Americans somehow still subscribe to in the 21st century.”
The video has gone viral.
Vandalism at Adam Yauch Park
Swastikas and the word “Go Trump” were painted on playground equipment at Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn, according to New York police spokeswoman Annette Shelton. The park is named after the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, a founding member of the pioneering rap band Beastie Boys.
The vandalism was discovered Friday afternoon, according to Shelton. A resident reported it to police, who are investigating the incident.
New York City Councilman Brad Lander, who represents that part of Brooklyn, wrote on Twitter: “Yet more hatred & anti-Semitism from Trump supporters.”
He also tweeted, “No place for hate. We will not be cowed.”
On Twitter, the Beastie Boys asked fans to join local officials Sunday morning at a rally in the park.
“Hate has no place in Brooklyn, NYC, or America,” the tweet said. “Join us … to stand against hate messages.
Lander told CNN the graffiti had been painted over. Instagram images show hearts and flowers over the graffiti.
The swastika discovered Friday in a Brooklyn park was the 13th reported in the city since Election Day, according to Robert Boyce, chief of detectives for the New York Police Department.
Other swastikas have been found in a school in Manhattan and a housing development in Brooklyn, Boyce told reporters. The number is up from two in the same period of time in November last year, Boyce said.
According to the New York police, the number of hate crimes in the city has increased 31.5% in the year to date from 2015 to 2016 — up from 250 to 328. Hate crimes targeting Muslims are up from 12 to 25, and hate crimes targeting Jews are up from 102 to 111, the police said.
Boyce said the swastika at the Brooklyn playground was the only one that included Trump’s name.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters this week, “A lot of us are very concerned that a lot of divisive speech was used during the campaign by the President-elect, and we do not yet know what the impact of that will be on our country.”
A note with obscenities
A woman reported a frightening incident that happened while she was hiking at Mission Peak in Fremont, California.
Nicki Pancholy had her car windows smashed and her purse stolen. A note containing obscenities and a reference to her “hiljab” was left on the car’s windshield, according to CNN affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco.
Pancholy has Lupus and wears a bandana to protect her from the sun. It has no religious significance, she said. A hijab is the traditional head covering worn by many Muslim women.
“I was surprised, I was taken aback by the ignorance,” Pancholy said on “CNN Tonight” on Friday evening.
“It breaks my heart that violence is spewing everywhere,” Pancholy said. “It makes me wonder what our children will be facing, how will they cope with this? It’s a different America that they’re experiencing something that’s new to this generation.”
A swastika, the words ‘Trump’ and ‘die’ painted on car
In Denver, a transgender woman’s car was spray-painted early Wednesday morning with a swastika and the words “Trump” and “die,” among other derogatory terms.
Amber Timmons, 43, noticed the swastika as she was heading to her car to leave for work. She didn’t make it to work that day.
“You get shocked, you don’t believe it’s going to happen to you,” she said.
Before the vandalism, she had the words “love trumps hate” written on her back window, and #notmypresident on the windows of the rear doors. And she intends to put those messages back on.
“Me and a couple of really good friends got together and got the spray paint off,” said Timmons, who does not intend to press charges.
Her message to the perpetrators?
“That it’s OK,” she said. “It was done out of fear. That’s what hate is. Hate is fear. And we can fix that fear by love. It’s OK. I forgive them.”
The Denver Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident as a possible act of criminal mischief, though there are no suspects at the moment.
‘Build the wall’ chanted at high school tournament
Students from a small border town in northwest Texas say they were the target of ethnically charged slurs while warming up for a regional volleyball tournament.
“When they were saying ‘Build that wall’ and holding the Trump sign, we knew it was for us,” Fort Hancock High School junior Jenna Aguilar told CNN affiliate KVIA-TV in El Paso after the game last week. Most of the school’s students are Hispanic.
Amid the verbal abuse from the stands, apparently from supporters of the Archer City team, Fort Hancock coach Melissa Saldana called a timeout.
“We’ve got to ignore what’s going on. We’ve got to stay focused and we’ve got to get tough,” Saldana said she told her players.
The Fort Hancock team lost, but Saldana said they were still victorious.
“My girls, they rose above and they handled themselves very well,” Saldana told KVIA.
The superintendent of the Archer City Independent School District apologized for the students’ actions, but Fort Hancock’s schools chief is still upset.
“What troubles us is that no game official, an official at the venue, even the officials at the game, school officials, nobody stood up to put an end to this,” Fort Hancock Independent School District Superintendent Jose Franco told the station.
‘Make America White Again,’ softball dugout reads
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a joint investigation after someone painted a dugout wall in Wellsville, about 80 miles southeast of Buffalo.
The message: A swastika, surrounded by the words, ‘Make America White Again.”
The governor said both New York State Police and the State Division of Human Rights will investigate the alleged hate crime.
“New York has zero tolerance for bigotry, fear and hatred, and those who seek to undermine the core values this state and nation were founded upon,” Cuomo said.
‘Heil Trump’ painted on church
On Sunday morning, the Rev. Kelsey Hutto got the news that vandals had painted “Heil Trump,” an anti-gay slur and a swastika on the side of her church, Saint David’s Episcopal in Beanblossom, Indiana.
She told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Thursday that she was at first sad, but believes that the church was targeted because it has always been inclusive to everyone. So, she said, she is taking comfort that whoever did this actually did this for the right reason, because the church has always been welcoming to everyone.
“Doing the right thing is not always the popular thing.”
In that spirit, the church has decided to leave the graffiti as is until November 30.
“If we decide to look at these and be embarrassed, and consider them hateful and angry, and decide to cover them up, then we give power to the idea that hate is more powerful than love,” Hutto said. “And that’s not the case.”
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department tells CNN it is investigating the incident. Investigators don’t currently have any suspects or leads, but they have shared their report with the state police department and are hoping someone in the community will come forward with information if they have it.
Swastika, ‘Trump’ at New York campus
Hours after Cuomo reported the Wellsville incident, the governor announced another alleged hate crime — this one at the State University of New York College at Genese.
Someone spray-painted a swastika and the word “Trump” on a dorm building.
“It is unacceptable that this is the second investigation that we have had to announce in the last several hours,” Cuomo said in a statement Saturday.
“To any New Yorker who is scared, I want you to know that we have your back, that we will keep you safe, and that protecting your rights is what America stands for.”
Muslim student threatened with lighter
Police in Ann Arbor, Michigan, were investigating reports a man approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter unless she removed her hijab.
The suspect is described as 20 to 30, unkempt and intoxicated, according to the University of Michigan.
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the alleged attack is among a spate of anti-Muslim incidents reported since Trump won the election.
“Our nation’s leaders, and particularly President-elect Donald Trump, need to speak out forcefully against the wave of anti-Muslim incidents sweeping the country after Tuesday’s election,” Executive Director Dawud Walid said.
‘Trump!’ written on Muslim prayer room door in New York
At New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, students discovered Trump’s name written on the door to a prayer room for Muslims on Wednesday, school officials said.
“Our campus is not immune to the bigotry that grips America,” the NYU Muslim Students Association said in a Facebook posting.
School spokesman Kathleen Hamilton said the school has many immigrant students, with about 20% from abroad.
“It’s a real melting pot here,” she said. “We all believe this very much, that the university is a place of free expression. It has to be safe to be so.”
New York police are investigating.
Graffiti in high school: ‘Trump,’ ‘Whites only,’ ‘White America’
Minnesota high school student Moses Karngbaye said he was terrified to see racist graffiti scrawled inside a bathroom.
Someone had written “#Go back to Africa” and “Make America great again” on a toilet paper dispenser at Maple Grove Senior High School.
“That’s the first time I honestly felt like crying at school,” Karngbaye told CNN affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.
The bathroom door was also covered with graffiti, including “Whites only,” “White America” and “Trump.”
Karngbaye sent photos of the graffiti to his mother, Denise Karngbaye, who told WCCO she takes the attack personally.
“I train my kids to respect everybody, regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their background,” she said.
Hate crime investigation at San Diego State University
A San Diego State University student walking to her car was confronted by two men who made comments about Trump and Muslims, SDSU police said.
“Comments made to the student indicate she was targeted because of her Muslim faith, including her wearing of a traditional garment and hijab,” university President Elliot Hirshman said in a statement.
The men grabbed the student’s purse and backpack and removed her keys. After the student returned from calling the police, her car was gone. The suspects are still at large.
Hirshman called the incident a hate crime.
“We condemn this hateful act and urge all members of our community to join us in condemning such hateful acts,” he said. “Hate crimes are destructive to the spirit of our campus, and we urge all members of our community to stand together in rejecting hate.”
Graffiti: Neither black lives nor black votes matter
The day after Trump’s victory, someone painted racist messages referencing the election on a wall in Durham, North Carolina.
“Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes,” the message said, according to CNN affiliate WNCN-TV in Goldsboro.
On Thursday, crews came to paint over the graffiti.
Phyllis Terry, whose family owns the JC’s Kitchen restaurant next to the graffiti, told the affiliate she was heartened by the effort to cover up the message.
“I am amazed. I am really touched this morning that the community has rallied together,” she said.
Nazi-themed graffiti in Philadelphia
Someone spray-painted the words “Sieg Heil 2016” and “Trump” — with a swastika substituted for the T in Trump — on a building’s glass window on South Broad Street, police said.
The words “Trump Rules,” “Trump Rules Black (expletive])” and the letter “T” were spray-painted on three vehicles and a house on South Sixth Street. And a swastika and “Trump” were written on a utility box at Broad and Reed streets.
Police said surveillance video captured a male of unknown race spray-painting around 5 a.m. Wednesday.
It was unclear if the graffiti were a protest of Trump or a pro-Nazi act. But the Anti-Defamation League has denounced it.
“Swastikas and the Nazi salute send a message of intolerance and hate to the entire community,” the ADL’s regional director, Nancy K. Baron-Baer, said in a statement.
Baron-Baer said the group views the graffiti as an isolated incident, but stressed that “we cannot allow this behavior to become routine.”
Black doll hung from rod at college
At Canisius College in west New York state, students posted photos of a black doll hanging from a dormitory curtain rod on social media, and one student created a meme with language about “Trump fans,” college President John J. Hurley said.
Students who saw those photos notified campus police, who investigated, Hurley said.
Some students have been suspended and may be expelled, he said. An outside investigator will be hired to determine if any students should be prosecuted for possible hate crimes, as several parents and students urged, Hurley said. He did not name the students or say how many were involved, citing privacy concerns.
On Wednesday, the school held an open session on the doll incident attended by about 300 people. “It is clear to me that this episode has exposed some deeply held concerns among our students of color and that we need to go well beyond addressing the immediate incident involving the doll,” Hurley said.
‘Deportation’ letters handed out at school
A student at Shasta High School in Redding, California, posted a video on Twitter of himself handing letters with the word “deportation” written across the top to half a dozen students, school district Superintendent Jim Cloney said in a statement.
The students appeared to be of a variety of ethnicities, Cloney said. After talking to the student and his parents, the video was taken down. The student said he thought the video was funny, Cloney said.
“Needless to say, we don’t think this sort of behavior is funny nor reflective of the culture of Shasta High,” he said. He said appropriate discipline will be applied.
TRUMP SUPPORTERS REPORT VIOLENCE
Trump supporter beaten in Maryland, police say
A young Trump supporter was beaten Wednesday by students during an anti-Trump protest in Rockville, Maryland, police said.
Police Maj. Eric Over said a juvenile has been charged with a misdemeanor in connection with the assault. He could face additional charges.
Police are reviewing a video of the incident. Over said the protest was largely peaceful.
A witness, Kathy Silverstein, told CNN the young man who supported Trump came upon the protest and exchanged words with some demonstrators before the alleged assault occurred.
Hat-wearing supporter: I was assaulted on subway
Corey Cataldo was riding a subway car to the Bronx when a man asked him whether he was a Trump supporter, police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said. When Cataldo said yes, the man grabbed him by the neck, hurting his left shoulder, McRorie said.
Cataldo, 24, was wearing a white hat with the motto “Make America Great Again” stitched on it, CNN affiliate WABC-TV reported.
The electrician told WABC that as he was being chocked another man acted like he was going to help, but shoved him against a window.
McRorie said no one has been arrested and the investigation into the reported incident continues.
CNN called a number listed for Cataldo and left a message seeking comment.
Men charged in beating of Trump supporter in Connecticut
Two men were arrested in the punching and kicking of a Connecticut man who was waving an American flag and holding a Trump sign on November 12, Meriden police said.
Wilson Eschevarria and Anthony Hobdy were charged with assault.
The 45-year-old victim told police that Eschevarria and Hobdy gave him the finger and he responded, “Same to you.”
That’s when the two suspects started beating him, the man told police.
Man beaten as onlooker yells, ‘You voted Trump!’
David Wilcox said he was struck by another vehicle while driving in a Chicago intersection. When he got out to try to get insurance information, men from the other car started attacking him.
“You voted Trump!” a bystander screamed as a man punched Wilcox in the head. Another tried to kick him in the face.
Wilcox said he doesn’t think his attackers knew who he voted for. Still, the assumption was already made.
Even though he was beaten on the street in broad daylight, Wilcox said, “Nobody did anything to help.”
On top of that, someone stole Wilcox’s car. Police are investigating.
FROM VIOLENCE TO UNITY
Baylor University: 300 students escort victim to class
Amid all the physical and verbal attacks, hundreds of Baylor University students rallied behind Natasha Nkhama to make sure she felt safe leaving class.
Nkhama said she was walking to class last week when a guy “went out of his way to bump into me and shove me off the sidewalk.”
“He said, ‘No n—— allowed on the sidewalk,'” Nkhama said in a video posted to Twitter last Wednesday. “I was just shocked, like I had no words.”
Nkhama said two men she did not know defended her, asking the student what he was doing.
“The guy said, ‘Dude, like what, I’m just trying to make America great again,'” Nkhama said.
The university said it was “aware of a student who was pushed and subjected to racially offensive language,” an incident it describes as “deeply disturbing and does not in any way reflect Baylor’s faith or values.”
Nkhama’s video and #IWalkWithNatasha quickly spread across social media. When Nkhama walked out of a class Friday, about 300 students stood by the door, waiting to walk her to her next class, according to campus police.
Nkhama broke down in tears.
“I just wanted to thank everyone for being here, and I want everyone who sees this to know that Baylor is a campus of love,” Nkhama said.
She also thanked the two students who came to her defense when she was assaulted.
“To whoever defended me that day, I don’t know who you are, but I thank you honestly and thank you for being an example to everyone on campus.”
WHAT THE TEACHER SAID
‘Back to Africa’ comment in Florida
A faculty member at a Pasco County, Florida, high school has been accused of telling a group of African-American students standing in a hallway, “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.”
The Wesley Chapel High School teacher, who is also the golf coach, allegedly made the remark the day after Trump was elected.
The school system is investigating. “As soon as the students reported the incident to administrators at the school on Wednesday, November 9, (the teacher) was sent home on administrative leave, where he remains,” Pasco County Schools spokeswoman Linda E. Cobbe told CNN.
The teacher did not return a phone call and emails from CNN seeking comment.