Vandals scrawled swastikas and racist slurs on a statue of baseball icon Jackie Robinson with teammate PeeWee Reese outside of Brooklyn Cyclone Stadium in New York City, stunning visitors and officials.
Just before thousands of kids showed up for Camp Day on Wednesday morning, a manager at MCU Park in Coney Island found the swastikas and racist slurs on the Jackie Robinson statue, the New York Daily News reported
The words "Hile (sic) Hitler," "Die (N-word)," and "(F-bomb) Jackie Robinson and all (N-word)," were marked on the statue, among others, according to the Daily News, which offered $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of person responsible.
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"Immediately we went into action to try to clean it and remove the graffiti," Billy Harner, director of communications for the Cyclones, told 1010 WINS-AM, according to CBS New York
. "We have 36 security cameras around the ballpark. Unfortunately, from right now I don’t think we’re going to see anything directly."
Natasha Capers, whose sons attended Camp Day and a game at the ballpark Wednesday told CBS New York she was disappointed by the incident.
"It’s really sad that after a really enjoyable afternoon to have to come out and explain what is vandalism? What is a racial slur? to a 7- and 9-year-old," said Capers. "It’s Camp Day and hundreds of students from across the city coming into this stadium to be greeted by this. It’s shameful."
NBC News reported
that the New York Police Department's hate crimes task force opened an investigation into the vandalism Wednesday. Authorities continued to scan more than three dozen cameras around the ball park for looking for evidence and suspects.
The vandalism was roundly denounced by officials and public figures.
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"Defacing the Jackie Robinson statue is a dagger in the heart to everything America stands for, and I hope those who are responsible are caught, punished and taught why what they did is so disgusting and offensive," said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica added: "We have spent so much of this summer talking about fake heroes and cheats. No one will ever build statues to them. But there sure is one in Brooklyn for Jackie and Pee Wee, now defaced this way, as if the great Jackie Robinson is fighting an old fight all over again. It is why this attack hits close to home."
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