By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Neighbors in New Ulm are saying “not in our town” after part of a popular bike path in the city was tagged with hateful and racist graffiti last weekend.

Some residents say they don’t just want to clean it up, they want to make it clear there’s no room for hate in their town.

“I noticed a spray painted picture of, it was Hitler, using a swastika for his body and then like a word bubble coming out that had a swastika in it as well,” said Emmie Turner of New Ulm.

Turner was just out for a walk Wednesday night passing by the Art Wall Park, a graffiti friendly feature along a popular bike path, when she saw the hate.

“There were swastikas inside the tunnel, the n-word repeatedly, there were things about jewish people painted in there,” Turner said.

The city painted over the racial slurs and hateful images in the tunnel Thursday.

But not at the Art Wall.

That was done by community members.

“We painted just positive art. We covered up all the negative stuff and painted these positive messages,” Casey McMullen said.

That positivity did not last.

“By today it’s all back to being hateful and ugly,” Turner said.

The hateful graffiti reappeared by Friday morning.

“New Ulm needs to take a stand. We can’t keep sweeping this under the rug. New Ulm and every other small town in America needs to stand up and say this is not okay and this is not going to be tolerated in our towns,” McMullen said.

The New Ulm Police Department says it’s investigating.

But some community members say the images weren’t covered up fast enough or denounced publicly.

“These people that are doing these hateful acts are a small portion of the community but I think that makes it more important for the rest of the community to come together and say we don’t want this here,” Turner said.

“I really hope that this can rally people together and we will come back stronger than before and tell these people they have no place in our town,” McMullen said.

The New Ulm mayor said he supports the police action and hopes whoever did this will put their paint brushes away.

Erin Hassanzadeh