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Pro-Trump messages painted on headstones at Jewish cemetery

Ahavas Israel Cemetery vandalism photo
Associated Press

Police are investigating vandalism that left several headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids spray-painted with “TRUMP” and “MAGA” before President Donald Trump held his final campaign rally in the western Michigan city.

Grand Rapids police officers on Monday found six headstones spray-painted with red paint at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery. The vandalism appeared to be “relatively new,” with “TRUMP” spray-painted on the back of four headstones, and “MAGA” — an acronym for the Trump campaign slogan Make America Great Again — spray-painted on two others.

Sgt. John Wittkowski is spokesperson for the city’s police department, “Photos were taken and it has been forwarded to the detective unit for follow-up. However, we do not have any suspect information and no leads at this point in time.” 

The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus said in a statement Monday that it was outraged by “the desecration,” and said the vandalism just before Election Day was intended “to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly, Jewish voters."

Sergeant Wittkowski says it’s premature to label it as a hate crime. “We do not know the motive of whomever did this. Were they supporters of President Trump? Were they just random vandals that indiscriminately picked a cemetery to put graphite on? We do not know.”

The Anti-Defamation League of Michigan said it was working with local law enforcement to investigate the vandalized graves and that it was “appalled by the reported desecration.”