DENVER (KDVR) — Police in Denver are investigating vandalism at Denver Academy of Torah and anti-Semitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ graffiti at George Washington High School.
Currently, police do not believe the two incidents are connected. The schools are less than a mile apart. Both incidents are believed to have occurred over the weekend.
The high school was free of graffiti by Monday afternoon. Officials said hateful words and swastikas could be seen across the campus.
“All of it was widely dispersed on the sides of the building and on bleachers,” said Scott Levin, director of the Mountain States Region of Anti-Defamation League.
The high school vandalism occurred Saturday night, school leaders said.
Officials said the Denver Academy of Torah was vandalized Sunday evening. Police said a suspect or suspects threw rocks through windows of the Jewish school and damaged an electrical box. Both of the incidents are being investigated by DPD’s Bias-Motivated Crimes team, police said.
“I don’t know why people can’t accept us,” said Abigail Boyd, a Jewish graduate of George Washington High School.
Boyd also attended Denver Academy of Torah.
“I don’t really understand why people don’t understand that it’s just a culture,” she said. “It’s something that we believe in. It’s just like being a Christian or something else.”
The ADL said a witness discovered someone breaking glass nearby the Jewish school and confronted them around the time of the vandalism.
“The person referred to Jews in a very disparaging way,” Levin said in reference to the witness account.
The ADL, citing federal statistics, said hate crimes increased 34% in Colorado from 2019 to 2020. The league said racist crimes top the list, followed by crimes targeting sexual identity and orientation and then religion.
“Across the country, over 60% of all of the religious-based hate crimes are against Jews,” Levin explained.
Police said investigators are working to determine if the crimes are related. Anyone with information should contact crime stoppers at 720-913-7867 (STOP).