VENICE (CBSLA) — A small but hateful message appeared on the sidewalk on Abbot Kinney leading one Los Angeles resident to take matters into his own hands.
Daniel Khalili took a video of himself spray painting over an anti-Semitic message he found on the sidewalk in Venice last week.
"I saw some graffiti that said "the jew is guilty" and it was in a stencil so it was obvious somebody did this beforehand," Khalili said.
He decided to take matters into his own hands.
"I thought the best thing to do was to cover it up so that this didn't get seen. I didn't want someone to think they could do this on Abbot Kinney and that it would be okay," Khalili said.
As CBSLA's Alex Biston met Khalili for an interview, she saw some of the graffiti had returned.
Khalili decided to get to work. This time not to cover it up, but to remove the message completely.
"The hate needs to stop, the division needs to stop," he said.
"There is a rising tide of anti-Semitism over the last several years," said Jeffrey Abrams, Regional Director of the Anit-Defamation League of Los Angeles.
Abrams says the area is no stranger to hateful graffiti.
A similar message spray-painted on Abbot Kinney was reported to the Anit-Defamation League last month.
"This is a part of some ongoing effort by whom we do not know, to target the Jewish community," Abrams said.
"It starts with something like this. It grows into other acts of vandalism and then we've also seen other acts of assault. It's very important to call it out to stop it and to alert it to the authorities," he said.
As Khalili works to scrub hate speech off the streets of Venice, the question that is still puzzling locals is "Why?"
"There are plenty of words to describe how despicable and disgusting and just absolutely awful that kind of verbiage is," said Nat Pravorne who works in the area.
Khalili said, "This is not okay. It's not okay here, it's not okay anywhere."
Councilman Mike Bonin's office said the city is aware of the graffiti, has elevated it to a priority concern, and will be addressing it with the Department of Public Works - Office Of Community Beautification.
People who encounter any type of hateful speech are urged to report it immediately.
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