State police are investigating alleged vandalism in Waldo. A Black Lives Matter sign was defaced with a swastika in one of several racist incidents across Maine this summer, amid a national reckoning with racism and police violence.
Louisa Carl, of Waldo, said the sign — which reads “Black brown LGBQT lives matter too” — had been in her yard for less than a week when it was vandalized with a red-painted swastika, sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Carl, who is white, is the mother of two Black teenage sons. She said they had put a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard earlier this summer but it had been taken, so they put up a sturdier sign this week. Carl said she anticipated the sign might run into problems, since the previous one had disappeared, but was disheartened to see it defaced in such a “threatening and despicable way” in such a short period of time.
“You stand up and literally just say that your life matters, and someone paints a Nazi symbol on your sign. That is the reality in America,” Carl said.
A spokesperson for Maine State Police confirmed that the agency is investigating the incident.
A 23-year-old Paris man is facing a civil rights charge after the Maine Attorney General’s office on Thursday alleged that Tyler Tripp threatened to lynch a Black woman last month.
The sign vandalism in Waldo comes as Maine and the nation have experienced a reckoning with racism this summer that started following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer in May. Dozens of Maine towns saw Black Lives Matter protests in the past few months.
But the last few months have also been marked by several racist incidents, including a noose hung on a telephone line in Deer Isle in June, and a swastika painted on the street outside a Bangor synagogue later that month.
“All these people are running around saying, ‘Oh there’s no racism in Maine,’” Carl said. “You are wrong. There is clearly racism in Maine.”