Graffiti at Lake Merritt investigated as possible hate crime

A spray paint of the word “Hamas,” which included hearts around it, at Lake Merritt in Oakland, is seen in a photo uploaded on social media platform X by StopAntisemitism. (Photo courtesy StopAntisemitism/X)

Oakland police are investigating the defacement of the pergola at Lake Merritt as a possible hate crime. 

The pergola in the 500 block of El Embarcadero was graffitied with spray paint on an unknown date with messages that Oakland police said were connected to the conflict in the Middle East. 

The graffiti was discovered at about 12:30 p.m. Monday. It was removed by Tuesday afternoon by a public works crew.

Pictures posted by users on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, showed messages in different areas of the pergola, one of which included hearts around the word “Hamas,” and another that said, “End US Aid to Israel.” 

Another message expressed a death threat against President Joe Biden. 

Marc Levine, a former state assemblymember and the anti-hate organization Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific regional director, said in a statement that the graffiti was “part of a relentless trend of vandalizing both private and public property which sows fear within the Jewish community.” 

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call a hate crime tip line at (510) 637-4283 or the Oakland Police Department’s non-emergency phone number at (510) 777-3333.

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