Was damage at the Saline Community Garden something more than the work of the everyday vandal?
That’s a question being asked by Saline Police and others in the community.
On Monday afternoon, Saline Police took a complaint that the Saline Community Garden was wrecked.
At Monday’s city council meeting, councillor Dean Girbach asked Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik about symbols carved into produce damaged during the incident.
After the meeting, Girbach said he was referring to a Facebook post by a Saline resident who, in describing the damage, noted that a vandal carved a swastika into a watermelon. The swastika, an equilateral cross used on the German Nazi flag, is associated with "white supremacy" and fascism.
After the meeting, Hrinik said the department was investigating whether it was “kids out on a destruction spree or something involving a hate crime.”
After the meeting, Girbach said he was glad to know police are investigating.
“If this is a hate crime, something has to be done,” Girbach said.
Hate crime or not, hundreds of hours of gardening work were destroyed.
According to the Facebook post, one plot was completely ruined, with vegetables strewn about. Vegetables, fruits and plants were damaged in other plots.According to the post, the water was turned on and hundreds of gallons of water leaked into the ground.
According to the organization’s website, Saline Community Garden is dedicated to community building and healthy living. The group provides a gathering place for friends and neighbors to come together and grow produce. The goal is to promote healthy eating and exercise while paying homage to the community’s history, arts and culture.
The garden is located beside the Weber Blaess one-room school on Woodland Drive. The garden is operated with the assistance of Saline Community Education.