A mural of Sen. Bernie Sanders in Washington, DC, was vandalized with a likeness of Pepe the Frog in a suspected hate crime, police said.
The colorful “Bern the System” artwork painted onto a concrete wall beneath Interstate 395 in the 100 block of H Street in the city’s Navy Yard section was defaced sometime between Dec. 15 and Thursday with the cartoon image that’s been adopted as a hateful meme by some alt-right extremists, police said.
Cops were called to the site Saturday by one of the artists involved who felt the vandalism might be “motivated by hate or bias of political or religious affiliation,” a police report obtained by The Post shows.
The artist was in the process of fixing the mural when officers responded. An investigation into the “suspected hate crime” possibly motivated by “anti-Jewish” sentiment is ongoing, according to the police report.
Sanders, a 79-year-old independent senator from Vermont, is Jewish, the police report notes.
No arrests had been made as of early Tuesday, police said.
“The case remains under active investigation,” a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman wrote in an email.
Doron Ezickson, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington office, told WTTG that DC police have contacted the organization regarding the mural, which has since been repaired.
The artwork now appears to feature a new phrase near Sanders’ head that reads: “Hate has no home here.”
Ezickson, meanwhile, said it’s the first time he’s seen imagery of Pepe the Frog in the Washington area, WWTG reported.
“The appropriation of that symbol somehow became an expression of power by the individuals that were doing it and then it spread over the internet and different chat rooms and 8chan and Reddit and some of the places where alt-right and white supremacists folks find each other and share ideas and share strategies,” Ezickson said.
A message seeking comment from Sanders’ office was not immediately returned Tuesday.
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