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Manhattan Beach Police Respond to Hate Incident at Sand Dune Park

Apr 25, 2024 10:09PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Editor's note: This story was updated on Friday morning with comments from the resident who discovered the vandalism.

You can never be sure what to believe on NextDoor, but an incident reported by a neighbor at Sand Dune Park in Manhattan Beach was apparently enough to generate a police response and a press release.

On Wednesday, a resident going by "JL B" on NextDoor shared photos of hate-graffiti-filled wooden signs posted on trees and an apparent hangman's noose that the resident said were found in a remote corner of Sand Dune Park. The resident claimed that the vandalism was done by a group of young ebike riders, possibly ages 8 to 12, who regularly visit the site, and who propped open the gate from the Grand View Elementary soccer field to the park to drag in the wood.

Police responded on Thursday morning by locating the site, and taking down the sign, but said they found no noose. Police issued a press release asking residents for more information (see below).

On Friday morning, MB News spoke to the resident, who has multiple photos of the noose [MB News has seen photos of the graffiti and the noose but has chosen not to share them.] The resident said that at some point between Wednesday and Thursday the noose was apparently taken down - although it's not clear by whom. "The noose was on one tree, and the rope was strung over to another tree. It was too high for us to take down, but somehow that noose disappeared," the resident said. "It would have taken a while to take down because it was wound around the tree trunks."

 

(A view from below of wooden boards up in the tree. Photo via a Manhattan Beach resident.)

The resident said that no one is regularly watching that area of the park, and that groups of kids regularly park their ebikes - which are not supposed to be allowed in the schoolyard - and head into the park. "At one point [the kids] built a bunker, that was about 8' by 8'," the resident said.

The site is not in the heavily traveled public areas, and MBNews' quick survey of the park on Thursday evening showed business as usual with children playing and exercisers working out on the sand dune.

Manhattan Beach Police released the following statement on Thursday: 

On Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 10:24 a.m., the Manhattan Beach Police Department discovered a post on the Nextdoor website of a photo depicting a handwritten sign with racial slurs and a rope hanging from a tree that appeared to be knotted into the shape of a noose. Officers responded to an isolated portion of the park out of public view. No rope was located at the scene. City workers have since removed the sign. Officers took a report documenting the incident and Manhattan Beach Police Department Detectives are investigating. Anyone who has information regarding this incident should contact Detective Seth Hartnell at (310) 802-5127.

Hate Incidents Recur Despite Education Efforts


Manhattan Beach has been the site of multiple incidents of racist and antisemitic graffiti in the last several years. Most recently, antisemitic graffiti was found on the Mira Costa High School campus in February. Earlier, in February 2023, a hate symbol was found in a Mira Costa bathroom; and in 2022, the Manhattan Beach Police Department tallied 10 separate hate crimes, including nine reported incidents of hate graffiti in Manhattan Beach schools.

Meanwhile, the school district has embarked on numerous efforts at anti-hate education, including visits for students to the Museum of Tolerance. In 2022, MBUSD became the first school district in the greater Los Angeles region to have all of its schools earn the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for HateĀ®" designation.






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