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Man feels he was targeted in possible hate crime

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Police are investigating a possible hate crime after they say someone spray-painted graffiti on a car and wrote an offensive phrase on a van in the 2300 block of Jefferson Ave. in Davenport.

5th Ward Alderman Sheila Burrage happens to live in the neighborhood and was the one who reported this to police on Sunday.

It's been an unexpected welcome to the neighborhood for Lorenzo, who's only been living on the street for a week.

A message he thinks is intended for him was sprawled across a van parked in front of his house.

He says they’re just words and don’t affect him too much.

"That's all they have,” he said. “They can't do anything else but vandalize property. I'd personally say grow up."

While the writing on the van has been wiped away, another message spray painted on the side of another car from the neighborhood is as clear as day.

"When I grew up here, it was predominantly white and black. Now, you see Mexicans, Asians and Arabs everywhere."

Neighbors don't know what to think.

"Seems like crime is moving more towards this way than what it used to be," said one neighbor.

"People should treat each other the same, I mean, no one's different,” said Lucas Duhaine, who also lives in the neighborhood. “Why should you treat someone different because of the color of the skin?"

Davenport police say the suspect's intention when the act was committed will determine whether or not the graffiti falls under the hate crime category.

"Maybe they're inebriated and don't choose their words, or maybe emotions were high and they said something they really didn't mean," said Major Don Schaeffer, who’s the assistant police chief.

But, if they did mean it, he says the charge will go up from a serious misdemeanor to an aggravated misdemeanor.

As for Lorenzo, he's got his guard up.

"I try to keep watch. We're thinking about beefing up security."

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