After an incident last week involving a racist slur spray-painted on a garage and car in Collingwood, one resident is shedding light on another similar occurrence.
Prabha Mattappally said she and her husband drove past a sign in August and noticed the letters on both sides of the sign had been re-arranged to spell both racist and homophobic slurs.
Mattappally said one side displayed n****r and the other read “I do f**s now.”
It was a rental sign with individual letters that can be arranged into a message advertising businesses, events, etc. She said it had been vandalized and other letters had been strewn about on the ground around the sign.
Mattappally said she was so angry she “ripped down the letters before taking a photo.”
She called police to report the incident and later reached out to the adjacent businesses to let them know what she found and tell them she called the police.
Constable Martin Hachey of the Collingwood/The Blue Mountains OPP said the incident is being investigated as “mischief” with no property damage.
“With the details from that investigation, it does not appear to be a hate/bias-motivated crime,” said Hachey.
Last week during the night between Sept. 10 and 11, someone spray-painted “N****R” on a garage door at a group home and on the manager’s car parked about a block away.
Const. Hachey said that incident is also being investigated as mischief.
“[It] certainly has the potential to be hate/bias-motivated crime given the totality of the case at hand,” said Hachey.
Mattappally, who was born in Canada to East Indian parents, said it is “disconcerting at minimum to hear this is happening in Collingwood.”
She said both should be investigated as hate crimes and believes it will take a community effort to prevent future incidents like this.
“The police can only do so much, if the community is more aware, they can be more engaged,” she said. “It takes the collaboration of police and community together to put a stop to this.”
OPP are continuing both investigations.
Anyone with information on this matter as asked to contact Collingwood/The Blue Mountains OPP at (705) 445-4321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). You can submit your information online or if you have any information on this crime or any other crime.
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