A sign reading ‘Mexicans go back where u b long get out wetbacks’ was discovered along West Atlantic Avenue Thursday morning. Hispanic people are the most frequent victims of ethnic bias crime in NJ.
By Matt Skoufalos
A handmade, wooden sign apparently targeting Hispanics and espousing support for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump was discovered in Haddon Township Thursday morning and reported to police.
Haddon Township resident Dan Angelucci said he discovered the sign around 7 a.m. Thursday while walking his dog in the area of South Atlantic and French Avenues. It reads “Mexicans go back were u b long / get out wetbacks / Donald Trump.”
Angelucci said he stifled an impulse to destroy the sign on sight, and instead reported it to police, who he said removed the sign shortly thereafter. Haddon Township Police Chief Mark Cavallo said early Thursday that he was aware of the report, but declined comment pending the investigation.
“It seems like the thing everyone should see,” Angelucci said. “It’s definitely startling.”
Whether the mention of Trump is meant to communicate any specific message, Angelucci said he believes the inflammatory rhetoric of the current election cycle has emboldened hate speech nationwide. Even removing the sign, “that person’s opinions aren’t going away.” he said.
“Racism is everywhere,” Angelucci said. “It’s probably incumbent on us as a community [to confront it].”
French Avenue resident Michelle Cabrera called the sentiment behind the sign “absolutely disgraceful,” and said it didn’t reflect the character of her neighborhood.
“I can’t imagine that people would do something like that,” she said. “I can’t imagine any of my neighbors wanting to see that.”
In New Jersey, Hispanics are the most frequent victims of ethnic bias crimes, according to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Index. Since 2010, the first year that bias crimes were reported by municipality, Haddon Township has seen at least one bias crime per year through 2014, the last year for which data have been reported (and in which zero incidents were logged).
Camden County has seen its share of bias incidents in the past half-decade, but they have been on the decline from a reported high of 25 incidents in 2010 to a year-ago total of 10.
Individuals who believe they may have been the target of a bias crime should call the state hotline: 1-800-277-BIAS (2427).
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