Seattle family shocked to find racial slur spray-painted on their car

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SEATTLE -- A family in the Greenwood neighborhood says they’re scared and hurt after finding hateful racial slurs spray-painted on their cars. They want to know who would target them and why.

“It was upsetting to me. I couldn't believe someone would write on our car, and write something like that,” says Denise Madden. “It’s very offensive and negative and something I’ve never experienced.”

Taggers also got another car, but Madden can’t tell what exactly they tried to paint on it. She says the message on the truck is clear.

“My husband didn't even want to go to work, he was trying to scrape it off with a screwdriver, because he didn't want anybody to see it on the truck when he was at work.”

Madden says her kids did see the hateful word, and it’s been tough trying to explain what it means.

“They’re not black, they're not white, they're not mixed, and they’re just kids. And they shouldn't have to see or deal with any of this ever.”

When Madden alerted her neighbors about the crime on social media, many of them reached out to offer their support

“It’s not OK to vandalize people's homes, especially not with hate speech,” says Robin Rose.

“I wanted the family to know that as much as there are racist people who are going to do this kind of thing, there are anti-racist people too,” adds Laurel Pederson.

Another neighbor volunteered his auto body skills to remove the offensive word for free. Madden is grateful her family won’t have to see the evidence of hate anymore, but she says erasing the hurt won’t be as easy.

“You would think at this point in this day and age that this isn’t what's happening,” she says. “We’re just like everybody else. Why do we have to be targeted?”

Madden says her family is filing a report with Seattle Police, and will be asking this to be investigated as a bias crime or hate crime. Police say about 30 percent of the bias incidents reported last year were against African Americans.