February 25, 2018 9:31 pm

‘It’s not gonna break me’: Dartmouth coach’s car vandalized with racial slur

WATCH ABOVE: Lance Sparks says he doesn't know why an offensive word was written on the hood of his car in Dartmouth, but he's not going to let it discourage him. Steve Silva reports.

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A Dartmouth resident says his car was defaced with a racial slur in Dartmouth on Thursday.

Dartmouth High School basketball coach Lance Sparks, who is black, was at the school when he was alerted to the offensive word scrawled on the hood of his car.

“The past few days have been tough — I’ve been feeling down,” he said on Saturday.

Sparks said he doesn’t know how the “n-word” came to be written on his car, but having seen surveillance video, he knows the vandalism occurede before he got to the school. He said it might have happened at a strip mall.

“At the time, I was super-angry,” he recounted. “I think it definitely was targeted towards a black person.”

A censored version of a photo (inset) of Lance Spark’s car after it was defaced.

Courtesy: Lance Sparks

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The six-letter word was written in purple lipstick, he said.

“Maybe they wanted to send a message out there that racism is alive and well in Nova Scotia, which there’s no denying that,” Sparks said.

Police investigating incidents

Halifax Regional Police Staff Sgt. Mike Willett said in an email to Global News that a hate crime complaint was received at 8:32 a.m. on Friday.

Police reviewed surveillance videos from several locations, but they didn’t show anything that could help in the investigation, he said.

“The incident was investigated and the file was concluded for lack of solvability factors at this time. Investigators were unable to determine where the incident had taken place,” Willett said.

At 1:19 a.m. on Thursday, he said police also “received a complaint of ‘racial graffiti’ located in one of the Dalhousie University buildings.”

READ MORE: Dalhousie president responds after racist graffiti found at university

No evidence was found that could have identified a suspect, and the two incidents are not currently believed to be related, Willett said.

Police have asked for anyone with information on either case to get in touch.

Support from strangers

Sparks wrote about what happened to his car on Facebook but said he removed the post after it attracted racist comments.

Still, he received a lot of other positive feedback, including from strangers, he said.

Sparks recalled a phone call from a white man in his 60s who wanted to offer support.

“He started breaking down in tears,” he said.

Companies have also offered to clean the car for free, he said.

“Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect and talk about it a little bit, it’s just going to make me stronger, and make me strive to be better and do more for my community,” Sparks said.

“It’s not gonna break me.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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