Several Ohio City Black Lives Matter yard signs burned to a crisp, Cleveland Police investigating crimes as racially motivated

Police say at least three homes had BLM signs burned and others had signs stolen
Cleveland Police investigation possible hate crime
Cleveland Police investigation possible hate crime(WOIO)
Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 10:27 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Police are investigating a heinous crime on the west side that they believe was racially motivated.

At least three families in Ohio City had their Black Lives Matter signs burned to a crisp, but these neighbors are not letting the crimes stop them. They have all replaced the burned signs with new ones.

“We’re not gonna be intimidated,” said Priscila Rocha. “We ordered three more signs. We’re doubling down. We’re not gonna let someone scare us out of our own house.”

A wave of emotions came over Priscila Rocha and Kelly Lytle when they woke up Monday morning to find that the Black Lives Matter sign in front of their home had been torched.

“You’re angered, you’re frustrated, scared because of what just happened and then ultimately I think deeply saddened and deeply hurt that this is where we are in our country and even in this neighborhood where acts like these are happening,” Lytle said.

The Ohio City couple were not the only victims of this disturbing crime. Cleveland police are investigating at least three cases in the Ohio City neighborhood where black lives matter yard signs were burned. Police are calling it arson and believe the crimes were racially motivated. Some other neighbors also had their black lives matter signs stolen.

“I mean awful, deeply disturbed you know I’m a person of color,” explained Rocha. “My sister whose living with us from Tennessee she’s also a person of color and to have something like this happen to us you know the symbolism behind it, it’s a racially motivated act. No other signs were burned in the neighborhood. The only signs that are being burned are signs about black lives so that’s highly disturbing.”

Mary Corrigan woke up to find her black lives matter sign burnt to the ground on Sunday morning.

“Oh it was scary, it still is you know it like gives you a feeling in the pit of your stomach that somebody has so much hate that they would burn your sign,” Corrigan said. “Cause it’s like, in my mind it takes a lot of anger and hate to go around a whole neighborhood and do that.”

Corrigan also put her sign back up and the neighbors are working together to see if anyone happened to catch the crimes on camera.

“These are acts that are meant to intimidate and to suppress and scare and as frightening as it can be to have something like this occur on your property we are not gonna let that stop us from supporting a cause we care very much for,” Lytle said.

The crimes occurred on Clinton Avenue and West 29th Street, West 38th Street near Clinton Avenue.

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