Tuesday, June 22, 2021
June 22, 2021

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Vancouver family says vandalism racially motivated

Police say bias not a factor in incidents at Black residents’ home

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter

Following several vandalism incidents at a Black family’s home in east Vancouver that the residents believe were racially motivated, the Vancouver Police Department said that it found no evidence of a racial catalyst.

Police took reports of vandalism at the Fisher’s Landing East residence in May, July and August. Investigators have not found a suspect, according to a news release from the department Friday.

In May, the department investigated a bullet hole in the front door and casing in the yard, followed by a rock through the living room window in July and a brick into a car windshield most recently, Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

The news release referenced a report Wednesday by KOIN-TV.

Nini Johnson, who lives with her four children and her mother at the residence, said that police went to the scene to investigate but that she did not hear any additional information, according to the report. Johnson also said that she hasn’t been able to glean additional clues from neighbors.

Johnson said that her family are the only Black residents in the neighborhood and questioned whether her involvement with Black Lives Matter protests was a factor, according to KOIN.

“I never in a million years thought this would happen to me because I always felt like my home was my safe haven,” Johnson wrote in a statement included in a GoFundMe page created to help with repairs at the home and install a security system. “My words alone can not describe how moved I am knowing that I am not alone and I have the support of some amazing people in my community.”

Vancouver police said Friday that the department investigated and took “detailed” reports of each incident. The department also said that it completed a forensic examination of the apparent gunshot and conducted extra patrols in the area after the most recent incident.

Police have responded to 24 calls at the residence since August 2018, according to the news release.

The calls include allegations of criminal conduct by the home’s residents, including robbery, kidnapping, gun and drug crimes, the release said. In one incident in October, a man suspected of armed robbery and kidnap was arrested after fleeing to the home.

“We felt it important for the media, and the public, to have all the information related to the investigations at the location which may have contributed to the vandalism crimes,” Kapp wrote in an email after being asked about why information about the previous calls was necessary.

Johnson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The police department said that it took reports of 11 bias crimes in Vancouver last year.

“The Vancouver Police Department wants to assure people of color in our community that we take racially motivated crimes seriously and while hate crimes are uncommon in Vancouver, they do occur,” the news release said.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter