The day after the general election, Ronnie Sartain will remove the 5-foot purple swastika spray-painted on his garage door.
By Nov. 9, the anti-semitic symbol will have been up for about two weeks. It appeared sometime Tuesday night, he said, with more on his sidewalk and on his campaign signs for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Ronnie Sartain, a Trump supporter, said he first noticed the swastika on the sidewalk in the 3600 block of NW 13th Ave. after he saw Gainesville Police officers outside his home Wednesday morning. Then he turned around and saw his garage door.
GPD is currently investigating the incident, said GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias. Depending on the motivation, it may be considered a hate crime, he said.
But Ronnie Sartain was not the lone target. He said a neighbor, who lives down the street from his home, first a found purple spray-painted swastika on his white pickup truck Wednesday morning. His neighbor called police and mentioned there were other Trump supporters with yard signs living in the area and asked the GPD officer to check on the situation.
Ronnie Sartain said he was surprised to see the symbols but resolved to keep them up to show others what had happened.
By painting over it, he said, it would be like it never happened.
“It says more to leave it up,” he said. “There are people in our community who will physically harm others and their properties for political reasons.”
Eric Anderson was shocked when he saw the swastikas on his way to work Wednesday morning. His girlfriend, who lives a few doors down from the Sartains, had told him about the symbols.
“Even though people have different views, this is a bit far-fetched,” the 49-year-old said.
Ronnie Sartain’s wife, Linda, said she wanted to take them down at first. But her husband insisted those who vandalized their home are cowards who won’t come back.
“It scared me, and it still does,” she said.
This was the first time the 69-year-olds had put political signs in their yard. Linda Sartain, who put up the sign herself, said this election was too important not to.
Since the incident, Ronnie Sartain said the man who owned the vandalized pickup has scrubbed off the symbol, but he prefers to wait. The neighbor offered his and his sons’ help to remove the purple spray paint from Sartains’ garage door Nov. 9, when the Sartains hold their post-election barbecue.
“The people need to know,” Ronnie said. “Maybe they’ll decide that they don’t like that type of stuff in their community.”