The suspect is shown spraying an offensive reference to Allah at a market on St. John Street.

Portland police on Tuesday released security video showing a person in a hooded sweatshirt spray-painting graffiti on the Portland Halaal Market on St. John Street, hoping that the images may generate tips that lead to a suspect.

The graffiti, discovered Sunday morning, made an offensive reference to Allah and police have characterized the vandalism as a hate crime.

The video does not show the perpetrator’s face but does show him walking up to the wall, spraying paint on it, then walking back in the direction he came from.

“The person’s stature, gait, the manner in which he is moving, could be seen,” said Lt. James Sweatt, head of the criminal investigations division for the Portland Police Department. “He might live in the area and walked to the location. … We’re hoping that now, by getting the video out, more people will write back to us, communicate through text-a-tip or call detectives.”

Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan issued a statement about the incident.

“We’re disappointed and distressed by this individual who committed a hate crime in our city,” Brennan said. “I am hopeful that law enforcement will be able to identify this person and prosecute accordingly. There’s no place for these types of actions in Portland.”

Brennan said he visited with the store owners Sunday to offer support.

“When situations like this occur, we need to stand up as a community and say that this is not acceptable behavior,” Brennan said.

To forward tips to police, mobile phone users can text the keyword “GOTCHA” plus their message to 274637 (CRIMES). People can also submit tips at the Portland Police Department website – www.portland-police.com – by clicking “Submit an Anonymous Crime Tip” or leave an anonymous tip on the department’s Crime Tip Line at 207-874-8584.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: Mainehenchman


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