A local Republican party office in Illinois was vandalized over the weekend with the words “rape” and “shame” painted across the building.
The words covered multiple sides of the Winnebago County Republican Headquarters’ facade and were painted in multiple colors.
“We can have our differences. We can have good spirited debate. I hope whoever is responsible for this will be brought to justice,” state Rep. John Cabello, a Republican, said in a Facebook post. “You are a coward for doing it unless you come forward!”
The graffiti was spotted by a police officer before 10 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Rockford Register Star. The Rockford, Illinois building is shared with the law office of Shiver, O’Neill and Thompson.
Republican state Sen. Dave Syverson said the vandalism “falls under the realm of a hate crime,” although he acknowledged it fell outside the scope of the legal definition. He also speculated that “with the amount of damage around [the] entire building, it’s clear this was not done by one person [but] was planned and organized.”
“Violence has increased across the Country the last couple of years against those that don’t share the same opinions or beliefs as others,” Syverson said. “We need these actions stopped before they escalate further.”
By Monday night, most of the graffiti was cleaned off the building with help from Powerhouse Painting in nearby Davis Illinois, WTVO-TV reported.
Andrew Correa, who says he is the owner of Powerhouse Painting on social media, said the vandalism marked “a sad day in our community.” In his Facebook post, Correa said he helped with the cleanup because he wanted to give back to his community.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, a Democrat, said the vandalism was “unacceptable” and doesn’t “live up to our community’s values.”
“We all have differences but we must learn to disagree on policy without attacking people,” he said.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the graffiti also included “9/27/18” – the date of the contentious Senate hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. Ford, a California psychology professor, accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh denies it.
So far, police are still investigating the incident, and no suspects have been publicly named or charged.
Rockford is about 75 miles northwest of Chicago.