NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk couple is planning on reporting a hate crime to the FBI after finding a racist slur on their vehicle.
“I mean we were, shocked. I mean it’s pretty surprising,” said Dee Hall on Wednesday evening outside of she and her husband Matt’s home in Colonial Place. “Nothing this blatant has ever happened before.”
Dee Hall said it was Wednesday morning when she received a text from her son that the “N-word” had been written on the rear drivers side window of her SUV.
“It appeared to have been written in lipstick,” Hall said.
No other vehicles in the area had appeared to have been touched.
“I would think that it was intentional,” Hall said.
The mixed-race couple (Matthew is white while Dee is African-American) called police, who announced Thursday a hate crime investigation was underway. Officers initially filed a “vandalism report” as an “isolated incident.”
“I want the citizens of Norfolk to know that there is no such thing as a minor hate crime. Whether it’s in the form of verbal threat, physical assault, or vandalism any kind of hate disrupts the very fabric of a safe and healthy neighborhood” said Chief Larry D. Boone in a press release. “We have come so far and worked too hard to allow any one person to destroy what many have fought for in the history of Norfolk. I assure you, my officers are actively investigating this crime and will not stop until we arrest the person responsible.”
Police say 17 hate crime incidents have been reported in the city since 2010.
Additional officers will be patrolling the area during the investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or submit a tip through the P3 Tips mobile app.
However the Halls are reaching out to the FBI too
“We’re in the process of filing a report with the FBI for a hate crime,” Dee said.
A hate crime, according to the FBI, is a traditional offense such as vandalism that is carried out with an added element of bias.
Dee Hall said while she has no idea who did this, she won’t take it “lying down.”
“I just worry you know about the possible implications, safety for our kids,” Hall said. “I think the more that we remind people who are bigoted or racist that we won’t tolerate it, the more likely it is to kind of be turned around.”
The Halls say they plan on installing security cameras around their property.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article identified the neighborhood incorrectly. WAVY-TV apologizes for the error.