By Bassel Barakat
An unidentified man spray-painted a racial slur on a taxi company owned by Muslim immigrant in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The racist graffiti which was found on the garage of Bullet Cab, used as a derogatory way to describe people from Middle East with the owner’s name. The graffiti read “Sand [N-word] Mike.”
Mian “Mike” Ahmad, the owner of Bullet Cab, moved to Wisconsin from Pakistan 20 years ago. Ahmad was notified to the graffiti on Wednesday morning by Linda Devenport, Bullet Cab’s general manager, who said that she was sick to her stomach seeing the graffiti and considers it as a hate crime.
“It makes me lose confidence in La Crosse,” said Linda Devenport.
“I like this town. People are very good [and] friendly. At this point, [it’s] very, very surprising,” said Mike, who said he hasn’t encountered such overt racism before in La Crosse.
La Crosse Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime after the department responded to a complaint on Feb. 6.
“This incident is not a reflection of our community, but rather a reflection of a hate-filled person,” said La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer.
Furthermore, Tim Kabat, the mayor of La Crosse, condemned the incident and said he was “disgusted” to see such a hatred in the city.
“I could not have been more disgusted in seeing that level of racism and hatred that was put out in, again, such a cowardly way,” Kabat said.
“February is Black History month, a month that is meant to recognize the contributions and role of blacks in U.S History, but instead in La Crosse … we spend time talking about this horrible incident. As an American Muslim of Nigerian descent, who considers La Crosse home, I am appalled, angry and sad,” said Wale Elegbede, one of the founding members of the La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network, established in February 2016 to unite people of all faiths..