DURHAM — State police are investigating racist graffiti that was painted along a state highway in Durham.

A motorist reported seeing graffiti containing racial slurs Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Route 145 and Allen Teator Road, state police Public Information Officer Steven Nevel said Monday.

"WLM," presumably an acronym for "White Lives Matter," the N-word and "Trump 2020" were found on the road. The stop sign and road sign were also painted over, with no words, Nevel said Tuesday.

The state Department of Transportation responded and removed the graffiti, Nevel said. The incident remains under investigation by the state police Bias Crime Unit.

Making graffiti is a class A misdemeanor, according to state penal code.

Sunday’s incident follows other recent vandalism reports in Greene County.

In late July, a Black Lives Matter sign in Cornwallville was broken to pieces.

“It was a fairly risky thing to do,” sign-maker Rob Handel said, adding that the sign was close to the road and the vandalism occurred in broad daylight.

Handel opted to put the pieces of his sign back together.

“I decided that screwing the pieces up makes a more powerful statement than replacing it,” he said. “The fact that it was done down here in Cornwallville is something that happened and I want to acknowledge that it happened.”

Another sign, reading “I Support Law Enforcement” on Main Street in Cairo, was spray-painted with the letters “BLM” in July.

Spirits of Cairo, a liquor store across the street from the sign, described the vandalism as a “disgrace” in a statement from the business.

“We as a company support all peaceful protest for a better outcome to a problem,” according to the post. “This is just a disgrace of vandalism. You are not supporting your cause if you are damaging others’ property. This is egregious in all respects, including to your cause. You should come forward and pay for the damage. A willful act of juvenile delinquent petty crimes solve nothing. This is a very peaceful town of many different makeups. You not only defaced private property but have defaced this sleepy little town with your crime. Once again, peaceful protesting is 100% all Americans’ rights, this is a crime. You will be caught and you will apologize for your heinous act of what you think was ‘your right’ to do. Shame on you. You have defaced this town.”

The Catskill Police Department has not made an arrest as of Monday in its investigation into a Zoom meeting held by the Catskill Central School District, where an unknown caller directed racial slurs toward Catskill Superintendent Ronel Cook and a parent on the call.

Catskill Police is being assisted by the state police Computer Crimes Unit on the case, Lt. Ronald Frascello said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to include the words that were on the roadway.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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