A Beverly man is going through hate crime prices in connection to a collection of anti-LGBTQIA+ graffiti and vandalism in Salem earlier this month.
Salem police arrested Mohammed Saeed Rajab, 25, after an investigation into the graffiti, which was discovered on Sept. 13 all through the town. Rajab is charged with hate crimes, destruction of a spot of worship, and a number of different vandalism prices, in line with the Essex District Legal professional’s workplace.
Investigators stated the rainbow-colored doorways on the Tabernacle Congregational Church and a Satisfaction flag at a Salem animal shelter had been defaced with anti-LGBTQIA+ graffiti, and a Satisfaction flag at Lappin Park was torn down. A number of Satisfaction-themed crosswalks had been additionally defaced with paint, police stated. The graffiti on the church doorways learn, “Cancel LGBTQ 2024.”
Salem police stated investigators from the Beverly Police Division assisted in figuring out Rajab because the suspect. He pleaded not responsible to the costs at an arraignment in Salem District Court docket on Wednesday, in line with The Boston Globe.
A choose ordered him held on $2,500 bail and to give up his passport. Rajab was additionally ordered to avoid Salem, adhere to a GPS curfew, and never possess firearms or any harmful weapons, in line with the information outlet. He’s due again in court docket on Oct. 11 for a pretrial listening to.
Public and church officers denounced the vandalism, with Mayor Dominick Pangallo saying it was “opposite to who we’re and to our metropolis’s values” and that he stood with members of the LGBTQIA+ group.
The Tabernacle Congregational Church launched a press release saying, “This hateful act won’t deter us from proclaiming God’s like to all folks. The doorways will probably be repainted and again up declaring what we consider: ‘Loves Wins.’”
Following Rajab’s arrest, Salem Chief Lucas Miller praised the work of investigators.
“We now have made this investigation our highest precedence,” Miller stated in a information launch. “I understand that this arrest doesn’t erase the hurt attributable to Mr. Rajab, however I hope that it exhibits the dedication that the Salem Police Division has to our pals, our neighbors, and our colleagues within the LGBTQ group.”
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