Swastikas, profane messages found at DC’s Union Station

Almost every column and wall at Union Station in D.C. have been vandalized with more than 150 swastikas and profane messages. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Almost every column and wall at Union Station in D.C. have been vandalized with more than 150 swastikas and profane messages.

Amtrak said the symbols were reported Friday morning.

D.C. and Amtrak police are working together to find those responsible. On Friday afternoon, D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said the person who did this may be experiencing some mental health struggles.

“It appears it may be one of our unhoused residents who did this, based upon some information that has been revealed,” Contee said.

Amtrak is only saying that the vandalism is under investigation.

“Amtrak strongly condemns this act of hatred and will work with our landlord, USRC and their lessor to remove these symbols as quickly as possible,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said.

Margaret Hardin, who lives on Capitol Hill, was disappointed to see what had been done.

“I don’t understand why people do this; it’s just sad really more than anything,” Hardin said.

Hate symbols that appeared Friday at D.C.’s Union Station is covered up. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Since the discovery, work has been underway to cover the graffitied spots. Union Station workers did get some help from volunteers, such as Carlos Repetto-Ayala, who offered to tape plastic over the symbols.

Repetto-Ayala, who is from Texas but is staying in D.C. for a few months, said he stopped to lend a hand because he wanted to send a message that acts such as this will not be seen for long.

“They’re not going to be able to send a negative message to the people in D.C. and around the country,” Repetto-Ayala said.

The symbols and messages were found the day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Anti-Defamation League said the act is alarming to see, especially after the day of remembrance.

“Once again this reinforces the need to teach about antisemitism and hate,” ADL said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington also issued a statement condemning the graffiti.

“To find such a symbol of hate at the entrance to Union Station is unacceptable and is not just an affront to Jews, but to all Americans. Swastikas are a chilling symbol of Nazi hatred and have no place in our society,” Gil Preuss, CEO of the federation.

In a statement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “This antisemitic and hateful symbol has no place in our city, and we stand united with the members of our Jewish community against anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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