Crime

Vandal defaces Kansas City Public Library with swastikas, hateful graffiti

The central branch of the Kansas City Public Library was defaced Sunday by swastikas and hateful graffiti.
The central branch of the Kansas City Public Library was defaced Sunday by swastikas and hateful graffiti. File photo

Kansas City Public Library officials are hopeful a surveillance image will lead to the arrest of the man who drew a swastika on a portrait at the downtown branch Sunday afternoon.

It was one of four locations in the library where officials found swastikas or hateful language, including racial and misogynistic epithets. One message said “Hail President Trump.”

The library reported the vandalism to police.

“The Kansas City Public Library condemns both the vandalism to a public institution and the sentiment behind the graffiti,” the library said in a prepared statement. “While we respect an individual’s right to free speech, we are strongly against the manner in which it was expressed.”

The graffiti was created with red and black markers. A swastika, a symbol of Nazi Germany, was drawn on a glass pane in the main entrance of the library at 14 W. 10th St. Other graffiti covered the walls and door of a stall in the men’s restroom on the first floor. There was more in the stairwell down to the vault level of the former First National Bank.

A 2-foot portrait on the first floor of Taylor S. Abernathy, an executive of the bank, was covered with a black swastika. Library officials do not know why the portrait was a target. Abernathy was not Jewish.

The vandalism of the portrait occurred in front of a surveillance camera, which captured the image shortly after 4 p.m.

The graffiti and the portrait have been removed.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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