In three places at Prairie Creek Reservoir, one or more people painted a derogatory insult aimed at black people, beginning with an “n.” Accompanying it was a crude drawing of a Confederate flag.
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler says the vandalism came after the city parks superintendent showed a group of “young men of color” to a fishing spot in the park on Thursday. When the men returned to fish again on Friday morning, they found the spray-painted messages.
In a live Facebook video on Friday, Tyler spoke directly to those wielding the spray cans, holding up a photo of the damage and pointing out that their insults were misspelled.
“It’s evident you’re not very intelligent when you’re spewing this type of hate. You can’t even spell the hate that you’re trying to spell. You’re an idiot. Or idiots. You’re a coward, or you’re cowards.”
Tyler apologized on behalf of the city, saying Muncie is a “great community that does not believe in this type of hate.”
The Muncie mayor is a former state representative. In his message to the vandals, he mentioned hate crimes legislation in Indiana. But a bill that would impose harsher penalties on crimes motivated by racism or other factors failed in the General Assembly this year, as in previous years. Lawmakers in a study committee are scheduled to look into the issue this summer.
The city says anyone with information about the vandalism should call the Muncie Police Chief at (765) 747-4822.