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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Car Spray-Painted w/Swastikas

A car was spray-painted with swastikas sometime early Friday outside the downtown Coeur d’Alene home of a woman who regularly has African-American friends visiting. In addition, about two weeks ago, some men drove past the Front Avenue home in a white pickup truck, slowed down and yelled a racial epithet while flying a confederate flag, the residents told police. Stephanie Guy (left in photo), who has rented the home for two years, called the police around noon on Friday, the Coeur d’Alene police report said. Guy’s daughter, Tara Silva, told police that she went to bed around midnight the night the vandalism occurred. She was awakened by the family’s dog barking around 2 or 3 a.m. but did not get up. Brittany Edelblute (right in photo), 18, owns the 2004 Subaru Outback that was spray-painted with three swastikas on the driver’s side, which was facing the street/Alison Boggs, SR. Rest of unedited story below.

Question: Are you growing concerned about the increase in the number of vandalisms involving racists symbols and statements in Coeur d'Alene?

 She discovered the vandalism in the morning when she started her car to drive to a job interview.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I cried. I went to my job interview in tears,” said Edelblute, who is white and lives at the house.

When police arrived, her emotions turned to anger. When asked if she wanted to press charges, she said, “I said ‘yeah.’ I paid for that car. I think it’s absolutely rude.”

Silva described the vehicle that drove past two weeks ago as an older white pickup, possibly a GMC or Chevy, with tinted windows. She thought the vehicle had a standard cab and a short bed, the police report said. She said the vehicle’s lights were square, rather than round.

Guy said people have yelled racist epithets from passing cars several times in the past year, but she hasn’t informed the police. “This time I was mad,” she said. “I was really mad, and I felt threatened. People should be aware that it’s real and it’s here.”

This is the eighth documented incident of racial harassment in the Inland Northwest since the spring, said Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. He urged people targeted for such attacks to secure license plate numbers and give them to the police.

Other Coeur d’Alene incidents have included a swastika sticker on a human rights center, swastikas spray-painted on a Middle Eastern man’s truck and the harassment of a Hispanic family. In Spokane, a noose was left on a black resident’s doorstep and Native American men were beaten by a group of white men.

“We do know it’s not the same people in each case,” Stewart said. “There’s more than one group involved in these hate crimes around the area. If you catch them, I have no doubt (Kootenai County Prosecutor) Barry McHugh will prosecute them and so will the federal (government). It’s a matter of getting the evidence and that’s the job of the police.”

The police released had no new information, but the case had been assigned to a detective, said Sgt. Christie Wood.

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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