Swastika on Vehicle in Beachwood Raises Concern

By Jane Kaufman

Originally published by: Cleveland Jewish News

A vehicle parked in the driveway of a South Green Road home in Beachwood with what appeared to be a swastika in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood within a half-mile of several Orthodox synagogues garnered attention on social media – and on the street on June 12.

The swastika appeared to have been placed on a Toyota Sequoia using red tape and was removed by the morning of June 13 and a gay pride flag covered the rear windshield.

In a June 13 news release, Beachwood police said they received a complaint just before 5 p.m. June 12 regarding the image, which may have been a Hindu symbol.

“The complaint was that a ‘Swastika’ was being displayed on the passenger side of the vehicle,” the police report reads. “An officer responded to the area and confirmed what was reported but had no cause to take action. At 8:41 pm, a small group gathered on the sidewalk in front of (the house). The group had a calm conversation with an occupant of the home. A Beachwood police officer was present and only explained what rights each side had. After the conversation, the occupant of the home decided to remove the Swastika from the vehicle. The city of Beachwood recognizes that this incident is concerning to the Jewish community and the community as a whole. Although incidents such as this rightfully can cause fear and anxiety, there was no violation of law that the police department can act on at this time.”

A photo of the vehicle, with the red symbol on the passenger door, was also posted on the Facebook groups, Cleveland Jewish and University Heights Ohio Discussion on June 12.

“There’s somebody parked on Green with a big red swastika on their car,” a post read in University Heights Ohio Discussion. “Couldn’t catch if it was UH or Beachwood?”

Eleven people signified they were angry using an emoji of a red face. Four expressed surprise with an emoji.

The administrator of the group removed the post with an explanation.

“I removed the post about the swastika on the house because we have a rule against posting addresses of houses,” Mark Selent wrote June 12 on the private Facebook group. “Feel free to repost without the address.”

Among those posting at University Heights Ohio Discussion, one person wrote, “Wherever it is, that’s really messed up. Terribly sorry for the hate & any reaction it’s causing.”

The vehicle had a sign in the rear windshield advertising Hyperbaric Therapy of Brook Park.

Christopher Dodson, who owns the Snow Road business, said that sign had been stolen from his business and he intended to review surveillance video and to file a police report with Beachwood police regarding the theft.

He said the sign for the business had been removed June 10 to allow for the walls to be painted and was missing as of June 13.

“I had two calls last night saying we were advertising our business on a Nazi vehicle,” Dodson told the Cleveland Jewish News June 13.

He noted that the symbol was actually a Hindu image, not the Nazi swastika, based on its orientation.

“That was an alarm to me because that’s not in any shape or form how we portray ourselves, Dodson said. “We’re a health care company. We provide alternative medicine to heal people, not to make people sick.”

As of the morning of June 13, the swastika had been removed from the passenger door of the Toyota Sequoia parked in the driveway of a Beachwood home. In addition a placard with a business name had been covered by the gay pride flag on the back of the car.