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Police arrest suspect after swastikas found painted on Atlanta’s Rainbow Crosswalks

<i>Atlanta Police Department</i><br/>Atlanta police are seeking a man seen on surveillance video
Atlanta Police Department
Atlanta police are seeking a man seen on surveillance video

By Devon M. Sayers, Alta Spells and Chuck Johnston, CNN

A suspect is in custody who is suspected of defacing the city’s rainbow crosswalks with swastikas on two separate occasions, according to TaSheena Brown, spokeswoman with the Atlanta Police Department.

According to police, investigators went to an apartment of the suspect and tried to make contact with the individual, later requesting a SWAT team for assistance.

The suspect eventually was taken into custody without incident, according to police.

Crosswalks defaced twice in two days

Police say the first incident happened on Wednesday, August 17. Two days later, police say the suspect defaced the crosswalk again at around 1:45 a.m.

The rainbow crosswalks are located at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta’s midtown community, in front of the site of the city’s first LGBTQ+ bookstore. The crosswalks were originally installed ahead of the 2015 Pride festival. The city of Atlanta made the rainbow crosswalks a permanent feature in 2017 as a “remembrance of the 49 LGBTQ+ lives lost in the horrific 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting,” the Mayor’s Division of LGBTQ Affairs said on its website.

The painted walk is a “symbols of acceptance, unity and tolerance representing the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies,” according to the group which pushed for its creation.

The swastika became a notorious symbol of hate after Adolf Hitler adopted it as the emblem for the Nazi Party.

Hitler launched a campaign of persecution against the gay community after he became chancellor of Germany in 1933.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 men “accused of homosexuality were deported to concentration camps” during World War II.

Authorities had released surveillance videos of the incidents and asked the public for help to identify the suspect.

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