Sacramento police remain silent after digging swastika trench on golf course – J.

Sacramento County police were saying little this week after a brazen act of anti-Semitic vandalism was uncovered at a golf course on Sept. 15.

In a terse statement to J., police did not confirm whether the incident had been classified as a hate crime, only that no one was in custody after gashes several feet deep were found in a green at Cherry Island Golf Course in Elverta, 20 miles north of Sacramento. Some notches formed a swastika, while others spelled “F JEWISH.”

Rabbi Nancy Wechsler of nearby Congregation Beth Shalom called the incident “very concerning” and said it appeared to be the work of someone “spewing hate”.

“It’s just ugly and mean,” she added.

In a statement to J. Thursday, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Rod Grassmann confirmed the incident but said little else, declining to answer questions including whether a hate crime investigation was ongoing. A county official in a separate conversation estimated the cost to repair the damage at “less than $1,000.”

Workers filling in the holes (Photo/Facebook)

“There was vandalism that occurred on the golf course on September 15, 2022. One or more unidentified subjects dug symbols into the grass on the course,” Grassmann wrote. “The symbols looked like a swastika. No one is in custody (cited) at this time. I have no further information to share.”

The incident follows several instances of anti-Semitic propaganda posted in recent months by organized white supremacist groups in Sacramento County and nearby Davis, as well as a handful of botched incidents of pro-Nazi vandalism.

Three cases of pro-Nazi graffiti marked the start of the semester at Sacramento State University. On September 1, a student found a swastika on a classroom wall, and the next day an employee spotted the Nazi symbol near the campus entrance on J Street. The incidents prompted a press conference with Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who is Jewish. This week, a Sacramento state employee found a third swastika next to the words “national white pride.” [sic]scrawled on a sign in the university’s arboretum.

About a month ago in Davis, four members of a white supremacist ‘active memorial club’, wearing black anti-Semitic banners, strung up, claiming ‘Communism is Jewish’ and ‘the Holocaust is an anti-white lie’ on a viaduct. Active clubs are white supremacist cells closely tied to the Rise Above Movement, a Southern California-based nativist group in which members “train to physically fight their ideological enemies,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Last year, a follower of the Aryan Nations, a group sharing an ideology with the Ku Klux Klan, lined a messianic synagogue with flyers saying, “Hitler was right.” In December, county police arrested Nicholas Wayne Sherman, then 33, for vandalism, charging him with desecration of a religious symbol.


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Sacramento County is also home to a contingent of the Proud Boys, although the “western chauvinist” group is not generally associated with anti-Semitic vandalism.

The general manager of Cherry Island Golf Course did not immediately respond to J.’s request for comment, but on the day the vandalism was discovered, the public 18-hole course issued a statement calling it ‘despicable’ .

“That this happened here is heartbreaking and serious,” the statement said. “Cherry Island Golf Course condemns hate speech.”

“We believe this must have happened after the course closed Wednesday night and before it opened Thursday,” Sacramento County spokesman Ken Casparis said in a phone interview. He said he was surprised when he saw photos of the vandalism on social media.

“Some of those cuts were pretty precise,” he said. “I was shocked at how deep they were and how sharp some of the lines were, especially on the lettering. I don’t know what kind of tools were used for that.

The county spoke out against the incident in an official statement: “Sacramento County condemns hate speech in the strongest terms. Anti-Semitism, racism, hatred and hate speech have no place in Sacramento County. This incident of discrimination has been turned over to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office and is being investigated.

Wechsler, who said one of the themes of her Rosh Hashanah sermon was the importance of cross-cultural peacebuilding, said she hoped law enforcement would find out who committed the act of vandalism, because “small steps are cumulative” and “the vomiting of hatred” can lead to violence. “Beneath this spitting of hate, there is suffering,” she added. “This suffering has to be dealt with in different ways.”

Michael C. Ford