Four food carts and a Masonic temple on North Mississippi Avenue were spray-painted last night with racist graffiti, including swastikas and the "N" word. Police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
Ellis Bradley, the owner of Grass Roots Cafe at 3503 N. Mississippi Ave., says the front of his cart was painted in swastikas, while the side was covered with the "N" word. "They repeated the word over and over," he says.
On the Sons of Haiti Grand Lodge and Masonic Temple next door, Bradley says the vandals drew a picture of a man being lynched, and wrote: "Leave and die. Forever and ever die." Both the cart and the lodge are African-American-owned businesses.
Police say they will investigate the vandalism as a hate crime. "Bias Crime Detectives have been assigned to this case," the police said in a press release, "and been to the scene this morning and they are actively working all available leads at this time."
Bradley says his cart, which serves a sandwich called the "Bro that's stupid hot" Chicken Burger, has been robbed four times since he opened in last December.
"This to me is the last straw," Bradley says. "Like I don't belong to my own neighborhood where I grew up. I'm thinking about leaving the whole freaking state."