TAUNTON (WBSM) — Homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic vandalism was recently discovered on both a home and a synagogue in Taunton, police said Wednesday.

According to a release from Taunton Police Chief Edward J. Walsh, officers were dispatched to a home on Everett Street on Friday, June 16 at about 3:30 p.m. for a report of vandalism. They arrived to find homophobic and racist graffiti sprayed onto a vehicle and a recycling bin.

While investigating that incident, the department received two more calls reporting additional vandalism, including at the Congregation Agudath Achim of Greater Taunton, a Jewish synagogue located on Winthrop Street.

Walsh said there, officers discovered a swastika and “other hateful references” spray-painted onto the side of the building.

The handwriting on the synagogue graffiti appeared similar to that found on the Everett Street home, Walsh said.

The incidents remain under investigation.

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“Taunton will not stand for acts of hate and intolerance, and we will call out these malicious and hurtful acts wherever we see them,” Walsh said. “No resident of our community should be made to feel unsafe, unwelcome or intimidated because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other demographic classification.”

“We will aggressively investigate these crimes and work with the district attorney to prosecute those responsible for these acts to the furthest extent of the law,” he said.

Taunton has had alleged hate crimes in the recent past.

Michael Cates of Brockton faced a hate crime charge as well as other charges for a June 2020 incident in which he allegedly entered a Taunton property – which had a Pride flag flying outside it and a rainbow on the mailbox – called the property owner a homosexual slur, and punched the victim twice in the face, causing him to lose two teeth, before driving off.

Although Cates was deemed dangerous by a judge and ordered held without bail, he was later acquitted on all charges by a jury.

In December 2020, a 23-year-old Raynham man was allegedly pistol-whipped for urinating against a fence by a Taunton man he said was “screaming racial and derogatory remarks and obscenities” at him. Joseph Amaral was later charged with a hate crime as a result.

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