- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage police have acknowledged they could have done a better job responding to a report of car vandalism targeting Sudanese refugees.

Police Capt. Dave Koch called the apartment Tuesday where roommates Mohammed Hano and Mobarak Albadawi awoke Sunday to find messages such as “Leave Alaska” and “Get Out” scrawled on their cars, the Alaska Dispatch News, an Anchorage newspaper, reported (https://is.gd/kGqa1x ).

Hano said he was disappointed at the initial response of police, who told him no officer would come out to investigate. The refugees consider the vandalism a hate crime.

“I’m asking, please come and see the situation - it’s not about vandalism or damages. I have a message saying, ‘Go and move out,’” Hano said. “This one I can’t handle for myself.”

Police now say an officer should have been sent out right away, and officers went to the apartment Tuesday to take statements.

But police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said officers also visited the apartment complex Sunday night. Police ended up speaking with a roommate when Hano had been to work and he never heard about it.

Police say, however, proving a hate-crime motive without a suspect in a vandalism case would be difficult.

Hano said he doesn’t understand how there could be a question about motive with the messages left on the vehicles.

To understand, Debbie Bock, a longtime volunteer with Anchorage’s Darfurian community, said people should imagine fleeing a region where villages were regularly burned, wells poisoned and people slaughtered. She said someone in that context being told to “get out” could see that as a threat of death.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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