A car belonging to a black family living on Staten Island's South Shore was vandalized with racist, intimidating messages earlier this week—an incident that one neighbor says has "catapulted us back decades of progress."
According to the NYPD, the phrase "n-gger get out" was scratched into the hood of the family's Volkswagen sedan at around 8:30 p.m on Tuesday night. The vandal also inscribed "move bitch" on the vehicle's trunk, smashed the headlights, and drew "the male appendage and long wavy lines," a police spokesperson said.
In response to the vandalism, the victims' neighbor Annette Siewert has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of the car's repairs. "We look out for one another," Siewart wrote. "How naive I felt this morning when we woke up to quite possibly the most heinous act we’ve witnessed together as neighbors."
Some who donated also left messages on the page, calling the act "absolutely disgusting," "so disturbing," and "what's wrong with the world today."
As of Thursday afternoon, the fund had collected $2,335 from 90 people. An update added earlier in the day noted that JoJo’s Auto has offered to fix the car for free, though Siewert says she still plans on donating the money to the family for a "vacation fund."
"I know this won’t make the major problem go away," she wrote. "And we’re still hoping justice will be served. Hopefully this will make it just a tiny bit easier to get through it all."
The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force is currently investigating.