‘Who would do something like that?’: Neighborhood wakes up to racist vandalism on sidewalk

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Dozens of neighbors in the Silverleaf townhome community are still in shock after waking up to a racist act of vandalism on a newly paved sidewalk near the corner of Cannington Drive and Old Guild Road Tuesday.

While the sidewalk was still wet, someone dragged their feet across the entire project in addition to writing “I hate,” followed by the n-word. The phrase was solidified in two different segments of the sidewalk.

The developers of Silverleaf, TerraForge Communities, say they started the project around 7 a.m. Monday before finishing the section of sidewalk around 8 p.m. They believe that whoever did this was waiting for them to leave and struck while it was dark and the cement was still very wet.

“I work hard, and no matter what color I am, I try to make the best for my family,” said Ramon Rivera. “But you can’t get away from it.”

Rivera moved into the Silverleaf community nearly a year ago and says this is a very tight-knit and diverse community. He was notified via social media by another neighbor who discovered the vandalism while walking her dog early Tuesday morning. Rivera worries about the kind of damage an act like this can have on how neighbors relate to one another.

“We worked hard as Hell to get out here, to get away from this stuff. Not to come out here to have to deal with it,” said Rivera. “For someone to do that in a predominantly black neighborhood, it’s threatening a bit because it’s sending a message to us like you don’t belong here, you don’t deserve to be here and even though it was just a couple of words, it just impacts everything.”

The developers say installing the project cost between $13-15,000 and will cost even more to replace the sidewalk. They tell me they believe whoever did this was waiting for them to leave.

“Who would do something like that?’ Rivera said. “They had to live here or must be a relative of someone that lives in here so that means they breed hatred, where we don’t.”

Tuesday afternoon contractors with TerraForge spent several hours removing the entire sidewalk project. At this time they are unsure when they will get the supplies to reinstall the sidewalk.

Chesterfield police have been notified of the crime and are actively investigating. At this time there has been no word whether police are searching for a suspect.

Neighbors are hoping that one of the many doorbell cameras could have captured the vandal in the act, but so far no surveillance video has turned up.

“If we don’t jump on it and try to rectify the problem, it’s just going to escalate until next thing you know there’s a brick through somebody’s window,” Rivera said. “The air is a little thick right now and we just need a little love to clear it out.”

Police are urging anyone with information to reach out to Chesterfield Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660

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