Halifax police are investigating after someone spray-painted racist graffiti on the car of a Dartmouth woman who brought an alleged case of racial discrimination to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
Garnetta Cromwell said she drove her daughter to school on Monday morning and went for a coffee before she realized the racial epithet was there.
“While I'm waiting in the drive-through, somebody said to me, 'What happened to your car?' And I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Somebody spray-painted the word n--ger on the side of your car,’” she explained.
'Welcome to Nova Scotia.' - Garnetta Cromwell
“I got out of the car and I just lost it. And then I had to drive my car back home, put it back in the spot, knowing that I had the word n--ger spray-painted on the side of my car. I can’t believe this. This is crazy.”
“Welcome to Nova Scotia.”
Her neighbours are appalled.
“It's not 1913, it's 2013. Wake up people. Wow. I can't believe that. It's absurd,” said Laurie Gross.
Racism at Leon's
Cromwell first made headlines after she brought an alleged case of workplace racism to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
Cromwell claims she suffered racial discrimination at a Leon's store in Dartmouth and quit as a result. She alleges a Leon’s manager referred to her employee evaluation as a lynching.
During Cromwell’s hearing news emerged of another incident where Leon's employees lynched a statue of a black man at the store.
The CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission said she believes Cromwell was targeted because of the publicity around her human rights complaint.
“We can't help but make a link to the case recently in the news — a very public case between her and Leon’s — and here looking at the car and seeing Garnetta. It really is a difficult situation,” said Tracey Williams.
None of the other cars at Cromwell's apartment complex were touched, but a truck two blocks away was vandalized with the word “cracker.”
Cromwell doesn’t know who is responsible, but she's clear on what it means.
“Obviously it's racism. It's still here. It's quite clear,” she said.
Cromwell said her building managers have security camera images of two people leaving the property on Sunday night.
Police continue to pursue what they're calling a hate crime.