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Racist graffiti drawn on street

Retired chief finds swastika near home

A retired police chief for the city of Coeur d’Alene awoke Wednesday morning to find a swastika and the words “white power” painted in the roadway outside his Hayden home.

Robert Nuttelman, who is in his early 80s, told the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department that the graffiti was not there Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., but that he found it Wednesday morning around 6 a.m., a sheriff’s report said.

The graffiti was located in the southbound lane of the 11200 block of North Avondale Loop, in front of Nuttelman’s home. The swastika was about 2-feet-square and the letters in the words “white power” were about 10 inches high, the sheriff’s report said.

A deputy drove through the area looking for additional graffiti but found none. He asked that Lakes Highway District send a crew to remove the graffiti. Roads Supervisor Joe Wuest said the highway district painted over the graffiti on Wednesday morning. He said the highway district doesn’t deal with racist graffiti “very often at all.”

It was the latest in a series of racist incidents that have plagued the area for the past couple of years. On Tuesday morning, a resident of Hudlow Road, just east of Rimrock Road in Hayden, reported finding a swastika sign on her door, according to police scanner reports. Last Tuesday, a human rights activist discovered a noose hanging from a beam of the carport in her downtown Coeur d’Alene neighborhood.

“For way over a year now, we’ve been dealing with these incidents,” said Tony Stewart, a founding member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

“It’s always done apparently in the middle of the night. Finding evidence of the perpetrators is incredibly frustrating. It’s kind of hit and run.

“It’s of deep, deep concern to us,” he added. “I have no question if we get any evidence, there will be prosecution. Vigilance is really important. If an automobile is involved, getting license plates is really important.”