Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a Mississauga family found racist graffiti following a visit to a park in the city’s west end.
Maureen and Rayon Holness took their two-year-old daughter Jasmine to South Millway Green Park, near Erin Mills Parkway and Burnhamthorpe Road West, on Sunday afternoon for a visit.
When Maureen and Jasmine went back to the park the next day, they found racist graffiti containing a racial slur on the swing Jasmine was using the previous day.
“I couldn’t even look at it. I just took her off right away and kind of just had to walk around the park … as soon as I saw the word baby, it just made me feel sick to my stomach,” Maureen told Global News.
”When we came on Sunday, we were the only ones. When we came back, we were the only ones on the Monday and it’s hard to not take it… it would be way too much of a coincidence seeing my daughter on the exact same swing she was on the Sunday, and it’s written on both the front and the back.”
The couple said they don’t know for sure if the graffiti was targeted toward their daughter, but the incident has left them shaken.
“I’m not going to tolerate it, I know my wife’s not, and just for Jasmine growing up, we want to make sure she’s in a safe community, in a safe place,” Rayon said.
“You see it all over, but when it gets to the point people are writing it to a child — to a baby — it’s unacceptable at all levels,” Maureen added.
City of Mississauga crews have since visited the park and removed the graffiti from the swing and other playground equipment.
Meanwhile, Peel Regional Police Const. Mark Fischer said investigators are reviewing the case and though suspects haven’t been identified yet, officers could still take action.
“In this case, the words used were hate-motivated. Therefore, if and when we find this person, we will lay the charge of mischief with hate-motivated crime.”
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