Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Fury as council paints patch over racist graffiti

2014-11-16 09:59:58

Leona Jarvis
Leona Jarvis with her vandalised door

A mum has slated council handymen for simply painting a black square over vile racist graffiti scrawled on her flat door.

The word "n****r", carved in the woodwork, can still clearly be seen through the botched cover-up coat.

Victim Leona Jarvis, from Selly Oak, last night accused Birmingham City Council of making matters worse. "I think it’s disgraceful, disgusting," said the 26-year-old student and single mother. They’ve just drawn people's attention to the word."

But a spokesman for the city council stressed the paint job was a temporary measure and full repair work will be carried out shortly. Workers had acted as soon as they were made aware of the incident.

Leona discovered the abuse on the green door of her Courtway House flat on Monday, November 2, and immediately contacted police.

It's not the first time Leona, who shares her home with three-year-old son Tamari, has encountered race hate. She told The Mercury abuse was hurled at her during a shopping trip.

The latest incident has left her shaken, however. 

Leona Jarvis
Courtway House in Selly Oak

!I don't fear for my life, but I'm on edge. It was Halloween on the Friday and I didn't leave my flat over the weekend, so I can't be sure when the damage was caused. A police officer told me kids may have done it. I suffer from depression and this hasn't helped.”

But Leona's shock turned to anger when she saw the repair work carried out by council officials. She said: "If nothing else, it looks unsightly. But it singles my property out."

Despite her experience, Leona wants to stay in the council block, her home for the last three years.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed officers were alerted to the vandalism at 8.50am on November 3. She added: "We take reports of hate crime very seriously and would urge anyone with information to contact us on 101."

The council spokesman added: "Birmingham City Council takes hate crime extremely seriously and in this case the immediate response was to paint over the graffiti as a temporary measure.

"We understand how distressing this incident must have been and will return to the property shortly to carry out more permanent repairs."

Because of the serious nature of the incident, a member of the council's anti-social behaviour team will also visit.

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