PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Pekin police are investigating after a woman’s car was defaced with racist graffiti on Saturday. They’re currently classifying the action as criminal damage to property.
But Karlie Slack, 22, said she believes the damage to her car was motivated by clear and unfiltered hatred.
“That was hate, pure hate,” Slack said.
Slack said she noticed that something was off with her car when she’d gone to throw something in the dumpster Saturday morning. She said she initially thought there was frost on her car, due to the cold, and someone had drawn in some comments using their fingers.
But she said as she walked closer she noticed someone had slashed three out of her four tires and spray painted the crude comments.
A white swastika was brandished on the trunk. The phrase “White Power” was sprayed on the hood. The “n-word” was tagged on the side of the car door.
“Fear definitely came to me,” Slack said. “I was in tears when I first saw it because I’d never experienced anything like that.”
She said she feels the comments were written because of who she hangs out with and the fact that she has two young biracial sons.
“I surround myself with every race,” Slack said. “I think they’re trying to run me and whoever I’m with away.”
Since it happened, Slack has been surrounded by loved ones. Her best friend Lathen Ford said he was inside Slack’s apartment with her Friday night when the incident was quietly happening outside.
He said the experience has made him feel more overprotective of his friend.
“I don’t feel like a single mom of kids, two biracial kids should be worried or scared of her own home,” Ford said. “I can’t believe that people are still stuck in that mindset and acting like that.”
Slack said she’s grateful city leaders, such as mayor Mark Luft and city council members, have been taking this matter seriously.
She said the police have also been communicating with her around the clock. Police said the Tazewell County State’s Attorney’s Office would determine whether or not the incident would be categorized as a hate crime.
John Dossey, Pekin Police Chief, said although incidents like this do show the city in a bad light, he said it also shows the good in people considering how many residents have reached out to Slack to either condemn these actions or offer to help her out.
Slack said it’s been tough trying to explain this situation to her 4-year-old son.
“I’ve been slowly explaining it that some nasty people are going to look at him differently because of his skin tone,” Slack said. “He’s not quite understanding it yet, but he is more curious as to why.”
She said overall, she felt it was necessary to shine a light on this matter and she wants the person responsible to be caught to show this is incident won’t be tolerated.
“Something like this is unacceptable, this was too bold,” Slack said. “You’re too close to my house where the people I love lay our heads so it just needs to stop.”