A vandalism case at El Camino Park is being investigated as a hate crime, Palo Alto police said on Tuesday.
On Friday, at about 7:40 p.m., officers who responded to a call from a passerby found racial slurs scrawled in black marker in several areas in the public restroom, which is located in the park at 155 El Camino Real. The writings were found on the stalls and walls, police said.
The writings included racial epithets directed at white people. A city Public Works crew promptly removed the vandalism. The incident likely occurred on May 6 or May 7, police said.
Investigators didn't have any suspect information as of Tuesday morning. There isn't a known connection between this case and a hate crime vandalism reported March 21 at Heritage Park on Homer Avenue, police said. In that incident, hate messages were spray-painted on a concrete curb near a children's play structure. The messages were directed at African Americans.
"In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto," police said in a statement.
In late March, the Palo Alto City Council denounced violence directed at people of Asian descent after months of work, including by the Human Relations Commission, on racial equity. A blog post from the city titled "Steps the Community Can Take to Help Stop Hate Crimes" discusses the city's efforts.
Anyone with information about this incident or other hate crimes is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.