Louisville family finds grass burned, racial slurs repeatedly spray painted on driveway

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 12:27 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville family is looking for answers after they found racial slurs and swastikas painted on their driveway three different times in June.

Michela and Connie Pineda have lived in Jefferson County for just over a year. A few months ago, they welcomed their fifth child. They describe their East Louisville neighborhood as “pretty quiet.”

“It was always pretty safe and the neighbors are generally really nice,” Michela said.

Michela tells WAVE 3 News the family had been victims of vandalism that they believe has been caused by a neighbor.

Last July, the Pineda’s said they came home to grass they believe was burned. This spring, they said more burnt patches of grass popped up, and a watermelon was placed on their front porch. They said their driveway has also been egged.

“We’ve picked up glass from our child’s playground in the back, in the rubber mulch,” Michela said.

The vandalism escalated this June when someone spray-painted racial slurs and swastikas on their driveway on June 7, 18, and 27. A person was captured on the Pineda’s security cameras appearing to vandalize their property.

The Pineda’s two bi-racial teenage children are now paranoid and afraid.

“They’re afraid to come outside, they are pretty much just glued in the house now. My concern is them and them only,” Michela said.

The Pineda’s reached out to Louisville Metro Police when their driveway was spray-painted the first time. Detectives didn’t come to their home until Monday after pictures and videos of the vandalism were widely shared on Facebook.

Michela said their Home Owners Association (HOA) president lives nearby but refused to look at their surveillance video.

“We got the feeling that they [police] are not really happy with us for posting the videos, but we were kind of backed into a corner,” Michela said. “We just wanted to be heard like everybody else.”

The Pineda’s say they’ve discussed relocating, but for now, they’re building a fence to protect their children’s play area. The support they’ve seen from social media and from neighbors has been positive, but they describe the police response as a “disappointment.”

“Hopefully this will be the end now that it’s known that the videos are working now and they’re capturing you so please stop,” Michela said.

In a Facebook post on June 8, District 19 Metro Council member Anthony Piagentini said he lives on the same street at the Pinedas. In a Facebook post on Monday, he called the language used in the graffiti “reprehensible.” He said LMPD has been working the case for weeks and once the suspect is caught, he will demand prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

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