Racial slurs were found on several spots in a Perinton neighborhood

PERINTON — Multiple law enforcement agencies have launched an investigation after racial slurs and other hateful graffiti were found spray painted on several spots along Whitney Road in Perinton overnight.

Monroe County sheriff's deputies, Fairport police, the FBI and the New York State Police's Hate Crimes Task Force are together investigating the vandalism, which occurred sometime late Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Deputies were called to the Pines of Perinton around 7 a.m. Thursday after workers at the apartment complex found a racial slur, swastikas and "KKK" spray-painted on buildings in the complex, including the Pines' rental office facing Whitney Road, said Capt. Andrew DeLyser of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Swastikas were also painted on a sign at Rocky's Automotive, 739 Whitney Road, on a sign celebrating a 2020 graduate that was posted along Whitney Road, both in Perinton. Swastikas were also spray painted on the side of a residence on Park Street in the village of Fairport and nearby fence, both of which faced Whitney Road.

"We take this very seriously" DeLyser said. "We all live in this community. I live in the town of Perinton and this makes me angry...It offends me."

Even if the vandal(s) considered their actions to be a prank, DeLyser encouraged the vandals to "think of the fear and hatred you are spreading" and to consider the meaning and history behind the words and symbols tagged on buildings and signs.

"I am disgusted by the swastikas and other racist graffiti that were found in several locations in the town of Perinton Thursday morning," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "This hateful language was written by cowards who only seek to divide and instill fear in our communities, and we have zero tolerance for it in New York."

By 10 a.m. Thursday, crews at the Pines of Perinton had already removed the graffiti from the exterior of the rental office. The graffiti at the other locations remained as of mid-morning. Perinton's Department of Public Works offered its equipment and staff to help remove outstanding graffiti.

Fairport Police Chief Sam Farina said he did not believe that the village resident whose home was tagged was specifically targeted, other than because of the home's high-profile location on a busy roadway.

Police are canvassing nearby neighborhoods and speaking with neighbors and business owners along Whitney Road. They are asking anyone in the area with surveillance video showing suspicious activity between 10 p.m. on Wednesday and 6 a.m. on Thursday, to call 911.

"It's a busy road. We're confident somebody saw something," DeLyser said.

“We are outraged by the actions that occurred in our town overnight," Perinton Town officials said in a prepared statement. "Our community has zero-tolerance for racist and hateful acts. Perinton is a community where everyone is, and should feel safe and welcome. These despicable acts are not reflective of the Perinton we know and love, and we all must lead by example to eradicate racism of every form."

DeLyser said the motivation behind the graffiti was not known. He could not say if it was in any way linked to previous hateful graffiti painted in the area, including on trees in Harris Whalen Park in Penfield nearly two years ago.

"This is unacceptable," DeLyser said. "We will do everything we possibly can to find who did this and file any and all appropriate charges."

Farina said the incident could be considered a hate crime; however, typically making graffiti and accompanying criminal mischief charges are misdemeanors.