Spokane Police arrested an Airway Heights man Thursday who is accused of vandalizing a Spokane Jewish Temple with racist symbols.
The man, 44-year-old Raymond Bryant, was caught on the temple’s camera system earlier this month and was arrested for defacing the side of the temple and its Holocaust memorial. Thursday morning police executed a search warrant on his home and arrested him. He was charged with malicious mischief and harassment, both felonies.
After he was arrested Bryant also claimed responsibility for distributing Nazi propaganda, according to the news release. The propoganda was left in Spokane neighborhoods and on the doorstep of a local news station. It included recruiting information for a small white supremacist hate group he is associated with.
Last week Temple Beth Shalom released a statement, thanking the community for its support and asking that those looking for a way to help donate to the synagogue’s Holocaust fund, which educates people about the holocaust and some of which will be used for the cleanup effort. More information is available on their website.
“We remain vigilant in the fight to protect everyone’s right to religious freedom and promote tolerance,” Temple Beth Shalom wrote. “We will not let these events deter us from living as Jews in our society. Antisemitism is a strike not against just Jews, but against all who cherish our society for the love and freedoms we have.”
The Western States Center, a progressive advocacy group based in the Pacific Northwest that tracks hate groups released a statement Thursday, saying it had been monitoring the hate group linked to the Bryant since last year. They urged the city of Spokane to start a office of civil rights, saying the groups behavior had been escalating.
“If a group like this doesn’t see a clear institutional response to its actions, it will often continue to escalate in terms of its attempts to intimidate a community. Allegedly targeting a synagogue is an example of this escalatory pattern, and ignoring a problem like this will only make it worse over time.”