CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Bonneville Elementary community spreads messages of love after hate crime vandalism

Dec 19, 2023, 6:30 AM

A banner outside of the school saying “Peace Love Joy.”...

The community shows messages of love after Bonneville Elementary was spray painted with hate-filled graffiti. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — The east-side Salt Lake City community banded together to spread messages of love after their school was targeted, with police investigating it as a hate crime.

Salt Lake City police say a citizen discovered that Bonneville Elementary was spray painted with racist and hate-filled graffiti Sunday morning. Chief Mike Brown said they obtained school surveillance video showing the vandals targeting the building at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

“Let’s call it what it is. This is a hate crime,” Brown said.

In his mind, the vandalism meets Utah’s definition of a hate crime.

“You commit a crime, a criminal mischief with the intent to target different groups,” he said.

But Brown doesn’t know why an elementary school was targeted.

“That’s so concerning. I mean, so sad,” he said.

Police would not release the video, saying it might interfere with their investigation. They’re asking anyone with more door-cam footage to contact them.

“They targeted our African American community. They targeted our Jewish community. They targeted the disabled. They targeted the LGBTQ and the Asian community. So it was very disturbing,” said Bonneville Elementary Principal Karen Holman.

Turning the message around

Meanwhile, the east-side Salt Lake community is trying to turn the message of hate into a message of love.

“Our wonderful building here today. It is covered in love messages. Our students have been working hard to just spread acceptance and kindness to everybody,” Homan said.

As crews finished power washing the school Monday morning, chalk messages lined the entrance to the school. The messages said things like, “We love you,” “Stronger together,” and “You are important.”

Fifth-grade students hung a banner saying, “Love is powerful.”

There’s more! Please see the complete story at KSLTV.com.

Related: Police investigating potential hate crime at Bonneville Elementary

 

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Bonneville Elementary community spreads messages of love after hate crime vandalism