Authorities are investigating after a Mid-Michigan family woke up to racist graffiti on their vehicle.
Photos of the racist messages were sent to TV5 from a woman who asked not to be identified. She said she noticed her neighbor’s truck was vandalized as she left for her morning commute Tuesday.
She said she had to knock on her neighbor’s door about 6:45 a.m. to wake him up and tell him about the vandalism.
The truck was found with white spray-painted messages - including swastikas, the “N” word and “wite pride.” All four tires were also slashed.
The owner of the truck, Hubert Roberts, said the truck already had decals that read "Black Panthers" and "U.S. IS RACIST SH** HOLE."
Roberts said he was exercising his First Amendment rights.
"I used my truck as a platform to express some of the concerns to start a dialogue that would be positive, not to breed hate," Roberts said.
Roberts said he used profane language on the back of his truck to describe his feelings about race relations in the United States. The vandals removed it and added their own messages.
He said even though some people might take offense to his message, it doesn't give them the right to destroy it.
"How dare you come on my property? How dare you do a cowardly act," Roberts said.
Jiquanda Johnson is Roberts' daughter.
"He is against racism, but you don't find him on the streets pulling Confederate flags off people's cars. You don't find him in people's yards pulling down their Confederate flags," she said.
Johnson posted photos of her dad's truck on social media. She can't understand why someone who may disagree with their views would go this far.
"I just feel this is unnecessary. He has the right to feel like he feels," she said.
As for Roberts, he said people in his neighborhood are reaching out to him after the incident.
"Some of the neighbors I've never seen before have come over and showed their concern and their compassion. They were saying that this is not who we represent. They are very hurt by this kind of behavior," Roberts said.
Sherry Coyle has lived next door to Roberts for years.
"He comes over and helps my husband sometimes in the winter doing the driveway or if my husband needs something he helps him," Coyle said.
She was sorry to hear someone vandalized Roberts' truck with racist graffiti and slashed his tires. She was surprised it happened in their quiet, upper-middle class neighborhood.
"Nothing's ever happened like this," she said.
Other neighbors have also reached out to Roberts, including kids who painted a sign in support of him.
"Hatred is taught, is learned. It's culture conditioning and to see those children and the parents allowing them children to be aware and engaged, it gave my heart tremendous upliftment," Roberts said.
Police were contacted to investigate the vandalism.
The Michigan chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this crime.
Roberts said he doesn't want the person or persons responsible to be punished.
"I really would like to be a part and get to know me and some of the work we're doing because we need them. I wouldn't like them to be arrested. I would like them to pay for the damage, would be nice," Roberts said.
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