Great Barrington Police are investigating a case of anti-Semitic graffiti as a hate crime, the town said Sunday.
Police were notified Sunday that the words "Nazi Kyke" were found written in red marker on the side of the Macedonia Baptist Church on Rosseter Street. Church leaders said they learned of the graffiti Sunday from a church custodian who found the graffiti Thursday, according to the police report for the incident.
"We just found out today," Town Manager Mark Pruhenski told the Eagle. "We just want to make sure that we got the word out there immediately just so if anyone happened to see anything.
"I'm assuming this took place in the early hours of the night, but we're still hopeful we can track down the vandal."
The town is asking that anyone with information related to the case to contact police at 413-528-0306.
Police Chief William Walsh Jr. and Officer Joseph O'Brien met with the Rev. Joallen Forte, of Macedonia Baptist Church, regarding the graffiti Sunday evening, a news release from the town said.
"This is very upsetting and a terrible thing to have happened to this wonderful church," Walsh said in the release. "I have known Rev. Joallen Forte and her family, who have dedicated their lives to ministry and to our community."
"This incident has saddened and angered me deeply, and I am not alone," Pruhenski said in the press release. "I hope I speak for all our residents in saying that such hateful words are unacceptable on any day — and it's especially hurtful to be opening this investigation on Yom Kippur."
Select Board Chair Stephen Bannon noted in the release that in 2017 the town adopted the Safe Communities Trust Policy, a values statement upholding anti-discrimination and social justice.
"Not only does Great Barrington not tolerate hateful speech, but especially at this time of such divisiveness in our nation, we stand especially united against bigotry," he said.
Danny Jin, a Report for America corps member, is The Eagle's Statehouse news reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @djinreports on Twitter and 413-496-6221.