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Chicago man charged with federal hate crime for painting swastikas

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Chicago man charged with federal hate crime for painting swastikas
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A man from the Chicago’s Northwest Side has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly spray-painting swastikas and racist prison gang symbols on two Chitown businesses this week.

Brodie Blakeslee, 57, told police he defaced the stores “to let Black Lives Matter supporters know the neighborhood was protected,” an assistant state’s attorney said during a bail hearing on Sunday afternoon.

According to CWB Chicago, Blakeslee is accused of painting swastikas and the letters “AW” on the front and rear of Supreme Smoke, 4766 North Milwaukee, and Cannabist, 4758 North Milwaukee, on Tuesday. He has been charged with two counts of felony hate crime.

Swastika’s are being painted in more places.

Much like other countries, symbols matter in America. Though their meanings may change with time, a swastika has long represented hatred of anyone other than white people. Due to its purely hateful association with one of the greatest tragedies in world history, it’s meaning – much like the Confederate flag – is apparent immediately. However, this wasn’t always the case.

Buddhists once embraced the swastika as good luck, however, once co-opted by the Nazi’s, it would never be looked at the same again. In fact, a popular San Francisco summer camp was recently shut down over a swastika constructed on a home built in 1929. At the time, the symbol was still associated with Buddhism, however, after Adolf Hitler’s vile and sadistic regime, the symbol has since been known for the Aryan pride and Jewish prejudice horrifically displayed in Nazi Germany.

Surveillance camera’s caught Blakeslee in the act.

Surveillance video clearly shows Blakeslee carrying spray paint and defacing one of the stores, prosecutors said.

According to CWB Chicago, the owner of Supreme Smoke identified Blakeslee from the video after recognizing swastika and AW tattoos on the offender’s arm, leg, chest, and body, prosecutors said. The prosecutor stated Blakeslee was once employed by Supreme Smoke, but the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday that the store’s owner recognized the vandal as a former customer.

According to prosecutors, the Supreme Smoke owner saw Blakeslee in the area on Thursday and called the police, who arrested him.

During an interview with police, Blakeslee allegedly admitted to defacing Supreme Smoke but claimed he had no recollection of painting the other store. According to the allegations, he told police that “AW” stood for “Aryan Warriors,” his prison gang, and the swastikas represented white reunification.

Blakeslee served ten years in Nevada for a 1994 burglary, six years in California for a 2005 aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and received probation in 2017 for aggravated assault in Chicago, according to prosecutors.

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