Fliers of Jewish Councilwoman With Swatiskas on Forehead Plastered in Oakland
Fliers with swastikas drawn on the forehead of a photo of Jewish Oakland city councilwoman and mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf were found on Sunday along a busy shopping area in the district she grew up in and represents, NBC Bay Area reported on Tuesday.
The fliers plastered along Mountain Boulevard in the city of Montclair were “very hurtful,” Oakland native Schaaf told NBC.
“It’s very hurtful, especially as a person of Jewish heritage, to see tour face with a swastika on your forehead,” Schaaf said. “I’m very proud of that heritage and I know there’s a large community of people that really were hurt having to see that.”
The fliers said “Stop Schaaf. Stop the DAC,” the Domain Awareness Center, a surveillance center planned by the city that would allow authorities to monitor streets through multiple surveillance forms, such as cameras and gunshot sensors, in order to help detectives solve crimes.
4,385 signatures have been collected in an online petition opposing the DAC surveillance hub, approved last July and to be funded through federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security. The center could implement a total of 700 cameras at Oakland public schools and 135 cameras at the Oakland Coliseum complex.
Police said they received a report about the postings around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Shortly after, many of the fliers were taken off the boulevard, or the swastika was scratched off.
Schaaf told NBC that she believed the attack was personal, and not about the Domain Awareness Center, because she expressed privacy concerns over the center, so it didn’t make sense for her to be targeted.
“The attack does feel personal because the issue is one that they misrepresented my position on it,” Schaaf said, adding that she is most concerned about the impact of the incident on her two young children. Schaaf said her family spent Monday talking about Martin Luther King Day and about the importance of tolerance, love and acceptance.
“To the extent we talk about this incident with our children, we will certainly put it into the light of Martin Luther King Day, that we still have a lot of work to do, even in a place like Oakland, California, to become more tolerant,” Schaaf said.
NBC said a similar incident happened in September 2013 in the Fruitvale district of Oakland where swastikas were posted on non-Jewish Councilman Noel Gallo’s forehead after a curfew was proposed for the city’s youth.
Shaaf, who is running for mayor this year, said she has “expressed serious concern” and is surprised that she has been “targeted with this particular issue,” but she refused to call it a hate crime.
“I’m not going to speculate,” Schaaf said. “That is the job of law enforcement to determine whether or not this was a hate crime and how to investigate it. Personally, I believe there are a lot of priorities for our law enforcement professionals in Oakland. We had a double homicide in Oakland yesterday.”