FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Fairview Park police need the public’s help putting a name to a face. Police said a doorbell camera captured a man tossing a can of spray paint in the garbage early Sunday morning; they are trying to figure out if that man is responsible for spray-painting a hateful message.
“The graffiti was racial in nature,“ said Chief Paul Shepard, Fairview Park Police Department. The graffiti was discovered Sunday morning above a now-vacant Blockbuster Video store at a Lorain Road shopping plaza.
“It’s disgusting. I have a bi-racial daughter, my granddaughter is bi-racial, it’s disgusting for anybody to write anything like that,” said Christine Anderson.
Police were called to the shopping plaza when the graffiti was discovered. Shepard said the fire department quickly covered it until the building was repainted just a few hours later.
“We’re taking this very seriously,” said Shepard. “We want to send a message it won’t be tolerated in the city,” he added.
“Fairview Park is a very welcoming community, we welcome everyone here,” said Anderson.
Police ask that anyone with information that may help police identify the man call the Fairview Park Police Department at 440-356-4415.
Below is a full statement from Fairview Park Mayor Patrick Cooney:
Dear Residents, Employees, Businesses, Elected Officials, and Visitors of the City of Fairview Park,
This past weekend, racist and vile graffiti was sprayed on one of our local businesses. The City of Fairview Park denounces and condemns racism and any other form of discrimination and harassment against any human being. Furthermore, we strongly condemn – and do not welcome – those who attempt to target any person or persons with this disgusting behavior. I, and the many residents with whom I have spoken, collectively affirm that racism, divisive language, and discriminatory actions are not welcome, and are not reflective, of Fairview Park.
As Mayor, I have worked with City Council and members of the City Administration to identify and address any sources of racism that may be present in our community. In January of 2021, together with City Council, and with input from our residents, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) Coalition was created for members of our community to “examine, explore, and identify ways individuals who live, work, or visit Fairview Park are welcomed and supported regardless of their race, sexual orientation, religion, age, natural origin, disability or income.” The DEI Coalition has been addressing these issues and will be meeting tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in the Willow Room of the Gemini Center to continue their important work. All are welcome to attend the meeting and future meetings to assist them or to learn more about their mission. You can also contact the DEI Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately, a mere statement of condemnation is not enough. The racist action taken this weekend was directed at a specific group of our community and must be addressed appropriately, and as a community, with the following actions. First, the Fairview Park Police Department (“FPPD”) is vigorously investigating this crime and those responsible will be prosecuted. Second, we must let those who spread hate in any form know that their actions, and messages will not be tolerated. Third, we must let our neighbors, friends, and visitors who are the target of this bigotry know, and feel, that they are a vital part of our community and are always welcome. We must be diligent in living, sharing, and passing onto our children the values of Fairview Park that ALL are welcome.
Since this matter is currently under investigation by the FPPD, specific details of the incident will not be discussed at this time. The FPPD is interested in talking to the individual seen in the video on the City of Fairview Park Police Department’s Facebook page. If you know the identity of this individual or have any information that is relevant to the investigation, please contact the FPPD at 440-356-4415 or MMcintyre@fairviewpark.org.
Finally, I welcome and encourage you to reach out and share your thoughts, concerns, or recommendations for ways in which we can promote and foster inclusivity in this great community. If you would like to discuss those matters, please contact me at (440) 356-4411 or email me at Mayor@fairviewpark.org.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.