Owner speaks out after Boise eatery targeted with swastika, hateful message

Police seek man who drew swastika outside Boise eatery

BOISE - Police are asking for the public's help identifying a man left Nazi symbols and a bigoted message in chalk outside a Boise restaurant earlier this week.

The incident happened at the Iraqi eatery The Goodness Land at 6555 West Overland Road at about 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Surveillance video released by Boise Police shows the man writing "Rapeugees Shop Here" and drawing a swastika and SS lightning bolts ont the ground outside the Borah Heights business. 

Salam Bunyan, owner of The Goodness Land, said he found out about the graffiti after he came to work Wednesday morning and noticed several police officers around his business. He said the message was clearly aimed at his business, but didn't know who would want to target him.

"I live here 10 years with my family, and I have good membership in the town," Bunyan said. "Most of the people here know me, and I don't have any problems with anyone. That makes me feel sad. Why do that?"

Bunyan came to the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq in 2008, and has since gained American citizenship.

He said he will not allow the man who drew the Nazi symbols to intimidate him.

"I'm not moving. I'm not doing anything wrong," he said. "If he does that, I'll make sure I trust the police department of the the law in the United States. [They] protect me, [they] protect my family."

It's not the first time Bunyan has felt targeted.

The Goodness Land used to be a fixture at the International Market, along with dozens of other vendors, many of them refugees. The market was destroyed in September 2015 after someone intentionally set it on fire, gutting the building.

The arson case remains unsolved.

Bunyan drew parallels between the firestarter and the man who burned down the International Market. Both, he said, are taking aim at people who have worked hard to build a life in Idaho.

"Someone like this guy, he burned down all the dreams," he said. "That's the American dream. Everyone want a new life, no one just take benefits from the government, asking 'give me, give me.' No, not me, and not a thousand, thousand people."

The suspect in the graffiti case is described as a white man between the ages of 20 and 30. He wore long shorts, white socks, brown shoes and a white T-shirt with a logo on the front.

Police say the man could face a felony charge of malicious harassment, defined in Idaho Code as causing physical injury to another person, making threats, or damaging, destroying or defacing another person's property "maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin."

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information about the crime is asked to call police dispatch at (208) 377-6790.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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