Police investigating racial slurs spray painted on graves in Fall River

The Fall River community is looking for answers after someone vandalized the North Burial Ground cemetery with racial slurs.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – The Fall River community is looking for answers after someone vandalized the North Burial Ground cemetery with racial slurs.

Amy Peterson says she’s interested in heritage and ancestry which is why she found herself at the cemetery in Fall River Wednedsay, looking for a relative.

“I came in here today looking for an old uncle,” said Peterson. “I happened to see some graffiti, which was pretty upsetting.”

What she certainly wasn’t expecting to find was graffiti, much less racial slurs.

“It’s not right. We’re in a really hard time right now,” said Peterson. “Everyone’s trying to get along and see eye to eye, and it’s just one more negative thing that nobody wants to see.”

She says she immediately called her friend, Frederick Renovato, who has worked in cemeteries, hoping he would know how to clean it off.

He says once he saw the slurs, he knew it wasn’t that simple.

“My thought process was: ‘Oh, it’s just going to be a couple of kids, punking around.’ Then I started seeing the pictures with all the slur words,” said Renovato. “I’m like well this is more than a complaint this is now, what should be, a hate crime.”

Renovato called the police and is encouraging anyone who may know something to come forward.

“I don’t care about your race, I don’t care about your creed, I don’t care about your religion. You cold be pink with polka dots, or black, whoever you want,” said Renovato. “Leave the dead in peace.”

The grave stones in the cemetery date back to the 1800s.

Renovato also made the point that there are likely veterans laid to rest at the cemetery as well.

“This is actually the heritage of Fall River, and to see it desecrated is just mind blowing,” said Renovato.

According to Mayor Paul Coogan, a detective will be out first thing Thursday morning to look into the vandalism, and then city workers will power wash off the paint.

He says they certainly don’t need anything like this in the city.

Categories: Massachusetts, News