Racist Graffiti Spray Painted on Man's Car in Oakland

A car in the East Bay has been turned into a racist billboard after someone spray-painted a slur on the side of an African American man's sedan.

Police on Monday said they are investigating the incident to determine if it is a hate crime.

The Oakland man who owns that car says he was too ashamed to drive his son to school in the car. Community members then teamed up to raise money to help the vehicle repainted.

Dontae Moore works for Oakland Parks and Recreation department. His job is to help clean and maintain Lake Merritt, which means many young families and joggers have been passing by his vandalized car. In some cases, it has sparked conversation about race.

"I couldn't believe it at first," Moore said. "I got my thoughts together. I just knew it was somebody being ignorant."

Somebody's ignorance follows Moore every time he hops in his silver sedan.

Last Tuesday night, Moore said he was out for a run around Lake Merritt and returned home to see that someone had spray-painted the N-word in bold red letters on the passenger's side of his car.

"I'm not used to seeing stuff like this you know," Moore said. "We deal with racism, but it's not out there like that."

Moore said it was tough to explain to his 6-year-old son why they now had to walk or take the bus to school.

"I know he doesn't understand," Moore said. "I said, 'Son, one day you'll understand.'"

English teacher Rebecca Carmona was with her class of seventh graders when they passed by the parked car along Lake Merritt. Carmona saw a lesson for her students in plain sight.

"I was really taken aback that this car was right in front of me," Carmona said. "Look, this stuff is happening right here in our own backyard. And it's 2019.

Moore's Bible rests on the roof of the car as a message for the vandal.

"I have no idea who did this," Moore said. "Whoever did it, I want them to know that I forgive you."

Moore's neighbors created a GoFundMe page to help him repaint his car, which has garnered more than $3,000 in donations. Moore plans to repaint his car by the end of the week.

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