Nova Scotia

Graffiti leads to hate crime charges against teens

Three teenage boys face charges of mischief and inciting hatred after racist graffiti popped up near the home of a black family in a Halifax-area neighbourhood.

Three teenage boys face charges of mischief and inciting hatred after racist graffiti popped up near the home of a black family in a Halifax-area neighbourhood.

RCMP said a swastika and a racist slur were spray-painted on the road with arrows pointing to the family's house in Eastern Passage.

"They're quite hurtful and harmful to a community," said RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae.

"As far as the mischief and the vandalism, there were crude pictures that some would call pornographic. Definitely harmful, you wouldn't want your small children to see."

The incident happened on Aug. 2, days after residents complained to police about similar slurs on municipal signs and a mailbox. Seaside Elementary School and a local ball field were also vandalized.

"Much of the graffiti contained racist, crude and obscene content," Halifax district RCMP said in a statement Tuesday.

"Graffiti is not a harmless crime. Graffiti and vandalism in our communities can create financial and social harm."

Two 17-year-old boys from Eastern Passage are due in youth court on Nov. 10.

RCMP said a 16-year-old boy from the Netherlands will face charges if and when he returns to Canada.

MacRae said the Mounties decided a charge of inciting hatred was warranted after speaking with the Crown and the victims of the crime.

"It is very rare. Probably the most public hate crime type of charge lately, would have been what happened in the valley with the burning of the cross on the lawn," he said.

Two Nova Scotia brothers were convicted last year of public incitement of hatred for setting a cross on fire outside the home of a biracial couple in Windsor, N.S.

Justin and Nathan Rehberg were also convicted of criminal harassment. Justin was sentenced to two months in jail, while Nathan was sentenced to a year.

Jackie Barkhouse, the municipal councillor for Eastern Passage, said Tuesday that racist graffiti has become more common in the community.

"The community reacted very strongly to this. This was not something that was being tolerated by residents," she told CBC News. "People were very much up in arms over this."

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