BOISE, Idaho — The three tunnels located under the Ninth Street Bridge near the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial were vandalized overnight Friday with anti-semitic graffiti.
The Boise Police Department was notified of the graffiti Saturday morning. The graffiti included swastikas, anti-semitic messaging targeting Jews and other hate-filled messages targeting minority groups, according to Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee.
Boise Police says Boise Parks and Rec responded quickly and covered the graffiti with gray paint by Saturday afternoon. Boise Police Department officers helped cover the graffiti, including Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee, to make sure none of the messages bled through the new gray paint.
"We recognize the impact of hateful speech and hateful languages and images like that, particularly in proximity to something like this and those are absolutely not the values of the City of Boise and those are not the values the police department tends to tolerate," Chief Lee said in a statement to Idaho News 6.
The Boise Police Department said they are investigating what they call a hate crime, but feel it's an isolated incident. Chief Lee told Idaho News 6 he doesn't believe Boise's Jewish community is in any danger.
"The antisemitic messages contained in the graffiti found along the Greenbelt put a literal and figurative stain on our community. This will not be tolerated," said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean in a press release to Idaho News 6. "Hate speech is reprehensible. It is not who are as a city and is not part of our shared values. I invite all good people of Boise to stand with me, as I stand with our Jewish neighbors, to rebuke this hate."
This Saturday is the only Saturday of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, and Boise's Anne Frank memorial is the only Anne Frank memorial located in the United States.
"We recognize the significance of this being the last Saturday of Hanukkah and we are reaching out to Jewish leaders in our community to let them know we will not stand for such hateful and abhorrent behavior in our city," Chief Lee said.
The Associated Press reports a swastika was painted on the Idaho Building in downtown Boise last month and in December 2020, stickers with Nazi imagery were left all over the Anne Frank memorial.
Chief Lee says it is too soon to say whether those incidents are connected to Saturday's graffiti.
If you have any information regarding the investigation, Boise Police asks that you call dispatch at (208) 377-6790 or CrimeStoppers at (208) 343-COPS (2677), 343COPS.com, or you can leave a tip using the "P3 Tips" app on your mobile device.