Tenant ‘held back tears’ after finding racist messages on his door

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A tenant at downtown Grand Rapids’ Union Square Condominiums said one of his neighbors made it clear he doesn’t belong there.

The man told News 8 that racist phrases were written on his front door twice and that his safety is being compromised.

“This right here, it really hurts, you know,” Mark Dodson said. “It hit me tough, not even going to lie.”

Dodson said he woke up to racial slurs written on his front door just over a week ago. They read: “No Blacks Allow,” “MOVE (N-word) WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE” and “WLM,” meaning white lives matter.  

“I held back some tears, like man like this is crazy,” Dodson said.

Dodson said he found more hatred on his door Sunday. This time “KKK” and “WLM” were written. He told News 8 he called the Grand Rapids Police Department and officers are investigating. One of them took pictures of the messages.

“The first thing he asked me when he saw me, Officer Van, was I OK,” Dodson said. “Like you could see the pain in my eyes.”

Pablo Maahave-Veglia lives two doors down from Dodson. Though hard to see, he said the person who wrote the hateful messages does not represent everyone who lives in this building.

“It is scary,” Maahave-Veglia. “We vastly outnumber whoever painted those things.”

In a statement to News 8, condo managers said: “We are aware of these hateful messages and are working with the Grand Rapids Police Department to investigate in addition to exploring additional security and monitoring options with the Union Square board of directors. Colliers | U.S. stands in defiance of discrimination of any kind.”

“I don’t want to live through this, but you know this is what’s going on right now,” Dodson said.

Grand Rapids police said they are not calling the vandalism a hate crime because they’re still investigating. In the meantime, they told News 8 they’re working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to determine if there are possible human rights ordinance violations.