Toledo police say a woman spray-painted “Hail Trump” and a racial slur on a neighbor’s home early Saturday, about 2 miles from — and just hours before — Toledo’s annual African-American Parade.
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Patricia Edelen, 47, of the 600 block of Ogden Avenue, is charged with criminal mischief, ethnic intimidation, and criminally damaging property, all misdemeanors, court records show.
Toledo Police Department spokesman Lt. Kevan Toney said the suspect was arrested Saturday evening.
Neighbors living across the street witnessed and recorded the vandalism, which included spray-painting the “N-word” on the house. They told police they were afraid someone would burn down the home because of what was painted on it, according to an incident report.
The news went viral when Monica Davis, the Realtor selling the property, streamed a Facebook Live video showing the vandalism to the home and her Realtor sign.
Warning: The following video posted on Facebook depicts explicit language.
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Residents of the 600 block of Ogden Avenue called Ms. Davis at roughly 10 a.m. Saturday to tell her that one of her listings had been defaced. They struggled to find the words to describe the vandalism, but Ms. Davis said she understood immediately.
“I knew it was this when the neighbor said he couldn’t tell me,” she told The Blade. “He was so distraught he couldn’t tell me what it was. He said, ‘I’d just rather send you a picture.’ But I knew what it was. I said, ‘You don’t have to send it to me.’ “
Minutes after Ms. Davis’ video was online, community members appeared bearing power hoses to help remove the graffiti.
Just before 1 p.m., Toledo Councilman Yvonne Harper arrived on the scene, coming from the African-American parade that had just wrapped up on Dorr Street. During the parade, she had disregarded an ambiguous phone call saying that she was needed urgently. But she soon began to second-guess her decision.
“Something in my mind said, ‘Go over there,’ “ Ms. Harper said.
For her, the sight of the writing was, in a word, eerie.
“To see something like this up close and personal. ... I mean, my God, this is Toledo, Ohio,” Ms. Harper said.
Upon arrival, she called Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, who then called Police Chief George Kral. Mr. Kapszukiewicz said a squad and a detective arrived “probably 90 seconds later,” suggesting they were already on their way.
While the crime was “heartbreaking,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said, the community response has been heartwarming.
“That something terrible and hateful happens, and that the neighbors of that community decide to come together and send a stronger message of solidarity and love ... that warms my heart,” he said.
Carina Urbieta, owner of a local cheerleading studio, was about to take a nap when her mother showed her Ms. Davis’s Facebook Live. Mother and daughter grabbed their power washer and headed to Ogden Street, located in the neighborhood where Ms. Urbieta grew up and where most of her students live.
“Ninety percent of our athletes are African-American young women,” Ms. Urbieta said, standing on the home’s front lawn as several cheerleading teens helped scrub away the writing. “They have to grow up and see those things.”
For younger volunteers, like cheer student Jayla Mitchell, 15, seeing the graffiti threatens to change the way they see their own homes.
“It was just horrible,” Jayla said, grasping for words. “That’s just horrible to see in Toledo. It makes me feel different about the city.”
Saturday afternoon, Ms. Harper struck horrified and hopeful tones as she reflected on the city she represents.
“We outnumber those types of people in the city of Toledo,” Ms. Harper said. “I’ve got to believe it in my heart.”
Officers went to Ms. Edelen’s house to serve a warrant for the incident, but she didn’t answer, according to a police unusual incident report. Police kept watch and saw her open the door, but as they approached, she went back inside.
Police forced entry into an enclosed front porch door and arrested Ms. Edelen at about 8:35 p.m., the report said.
Staff writer Jimmy Miller contributed to this story.
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