Steve (last name withheld) and his girlfriend were disgusted and upset when they found “F— all Jews” and a swastika painted in black on her car parked in their neighbourhood in Montreal’s West End.
“I think shock was the first thing you feel. It’s a street I’ve lived on for seven years. Not something you expect to see,” Steve told Global News.
They didn’t want to call 911 because nobody was in immediate danger, so they called their local police station instead.
They wanted to report a hate crime but didn’t get the answer they were expecting.
“The advice they gave her was to simply wash it off the car, and if this is the first time something like this has happened, that there was no action they were going to take,” Steve said.
He was angered by their lack of response.
“This is, to me, a hate crime, and the fact that they had no interest in coming to address it…I thought it was shocking.”
The next call was to Corey Fleischer, a power-washing professional well-known for his work removing swastikas and other hateful graffiti all over the Montreal area. He was there within the hour.
“I easily removed it within five minutes and the car was super clean when it was done,” Fleischer told Global News.
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Fleischer noticed a can of black shoe polish just a few feet away from the car and was convinced it was used to paint the racist message.
He wondered why the police wouldn’t have come to fingerprint it.
“As soon as they got the phone call, they should have assembled and came,” Fleischer said.
He doesn’t think police take these cases seriously.
“On their list of things that are important, this is at the bottom.”
Global News reached out to the police for an explanation, and about two hours later, Steve was on the phone with an officer to discuss the case.
“We were on the scene, we took the shoe polish. We’re going to try to see if there’s any fingerprints on the shoe polish, we checked to see if there were any camera surveillance,” Commander Jean O’Malley of Montreal Police Station 11 told Global News.
O’Malley said there should have been more of a response.
“That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The officer who talked to them is on vacation right now, so I’m not able to comment on what was said by the officer,” he said.
Steve and Fleischer both think the new police hate crimes unit should have gotten involved right away. Jewish organization B’Nai Brith Canada thinks police only took action because the story got out.
“The fact of the matter is they had called the police and initially the police refused to come and do anything. I think the only reason the police showed up is because this became public knowledge,” said Janna Minikovich of B’Nai Brith.
Commander O’Malley denies that claim.
“Absolutely not. As soon as we are aware of any crime being committed, we are going to go and meet the people,” he said.