By Mike Anderson
York Regional Police are investigating a shocking act of vandalism that involved lewd and racist graffiti at Constable Garrett Styles Park in Keswick on March 21.
According to an eye witness, two boys, aged 10 and 14, were seen spray painting the children’s playground around 10 p.m.
The eye witness, who didn’t want to be identified, told The Post that he thought they were using chalk, so he didn’t report them to police.
The racist words and sexualized images span a large area including the playground surface and play apparatus, and could cost the Town several thousand dollars to remove.
Town staff covered up multiples sections with black plastic until a contractor can permanently remove the graffiti, which is expected within 24-hours.
At least one surface area displayed the N-word, and Town staff covered up or removed another two N-words on the playground slide.
“I am shocked and disgusted to share that York Regional Police are investigating racist and lewd images that were spray painted at Garrett Styles Park overnight,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk in a statement released to media earlier today.
“This park is in memory of fallen York Regional Police officer Garrett Styles, representing a safe place for children and families to gather. Racism does not belong there, or any other place in our community. Racism in any form is unacceptable and is not consistent with our community’s core values.”
Constable Garret Styles Park, 176 Laurendale Ave., is located in Councillor Mike Waddington’s ward.
“I’m incredibly disappointed,” Waddington said. “It’s sad that our community has to be put through something like this.”
“I feel horrible for people that live through these derogatory comments day by day; this is a wake up that racism does exist in our community.”
According to Waddington this isn’t the first time racist graffiti has appeared in Ward 1.
There was a similar incident at Lake Simcoe Public School in 2020, which featured homophobic and racist graffiti.
“We had a solidarity walk, shortly there afterwards, just showing that racism and hate has no place in the community, but, obviously someone didn’t get the message,” he said.
“Right now, my priority is to call out who did this, and to remove it. This isn’t welcome in our community. Hate has no place here.”
According to a YRP spokesperson, police will continue to canvass the neighbourhood for potential witnesses.
The boys could face a charge of mischief under the Young Offenders Act, which applies to youth who are at least 12 but under the age of 18.
Anyone with information, including footage from home security systems, should contact YRP 3 District Criminal Investigations, 905-830-0303, ext. 7341.
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