Hate Messages Found on School Football Field

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jodi Hernandez
    Vandals spray-painted hate messages on the athletic field at Richmond's De Anza High School.

    When students go back to school at Richmond's De Anza High School  in two weeks, their football field will have fresh new paint and markings. But is't just to make it look good for the students returning after summer break. It's covering up some ugly grafitti.

    Police were called to the school's athletic field on Saturday on a vandalism report. When they got there, they found disturbing messages of hate and apparent racial dicscrimination scrawled across parts of the field.

    Vandals spray-painted a swastika, on the field and "WHITE POWER" and "PINOLE 2010" on the end zone.

    School board member Charles Ramsey tipped us off to this story and said hate messages and racial epithets were also found on the school's track and field.

    Richmond police have no leads or suspects and are investigating the grafitti as a hate crime, Sgt. Bisa French said. They are talking to residents who live near the school and are coordinating with Pinole police and other cops and officials in the area as part of their investigation.

    Ramsey says he feels the grafitti demonstrates ongoing racial tensions in the area. He fears the messages on the field are just a peek at the deep-rooted hatred in the community and points out a case in 2008 at neighboring Pinole Valley High School in which a noose was found hanging from a tree on campus.

    French said that although they find references to white supremacy occasionally as part of their calls in the area, she's not aware of any ongoing tension between the races. The rivalry between De Anza and Pinole Valley High is heated and goes way back. Richmond police will also work with officials at Pinole Valley High as part of their investigation, French said.