Memorial Park in San Anselmo.
Memorial Park in San Anselmo.

White supremacist symbol on Marin scoreboard investigated as hate crime

A set of “notorious” numbers used by white supremacists was discovered Monday posted on a scoreboard at a Marin County park and is being investigated as a hate crime, according to the Central Marin Police Authority.

The numbers “1488” combine two white supremacy symbols, “14 words” (referencing the slogan “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) and “Heil Hitler” (referencing H as the eighth letter of the alphabet). The numbers were found the morning of July 26 at Memorial Park in San Anselmo, a town of about 12,000.

“We take these types of things really seriously,” said Cynthia Keat, a detective with the Central Marin Police Authority, a combined force that covers San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera and parts of Greenbrae. “We will investigate this to its fullest” extent, she said. Keat said the investigation is ongoing and would not say whether any suspects have been identified.

San Anselmo Mayor Brian Colbert said the numbers were spotted by a passerby and the city’s department of public works took them down “immediately.” The numbers, used for games held on the park’s baseball field,  usually are locked away, Colbert said.

“This is a horrible and heinous act,” the mayor said. “I can’t stress strongly enough that I don’t feel that this act represents in any way the values of our community.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s S.F.-based regional director Seth Brysk called the numbers “notorious white supremacist numeric symbols.”

“In light of the recent spike in antisemitic incidents, we commend the community for recognizing the offensive symbols, speaking out to reject bigotry and contacting law enforcement to ensure it is documented and investigated,” he said. “We hope leaders in the community will continue to confront hate. ADL has resources and expertise to share.”

Several cities in Marin County have experienced antisemitic incidents over the last few years. In August 2019, flyers were found posted around the city of Novato that blamed Jews and Israel for the 9/11 attacks. The man responsible for those stickers, Petaluma’s Jon Minadeo Jr., is a leader of the so-called Goyim Defense League, a virulently antisemitic group that recently began selling Hitler T-shirts.

In September 2020, students at Redwood High School in Larkspur were targeted with antisemitic posts. That incident pushed educators and Jewish community members in Marin to develop a section on antisemitism in their ethnic studies curriculum. The curriculum, which includes lessons on the Holocaust and Jewish stereotypes, will be completed in time for the start of school and distributed among the county’s three high school districts for use at their own discretion.

Two months after the incident at Redwood High School, a man was found posting swastika stickers in downtown Fairfax that read “We are everywhere.” A resident confronted the man and demanded he take them down, an encounter captured on video that later went viral.

“Unfortunately, there has been a troubling trend in the Ross Valley,” said Colbert, referring to a region that includes San Anselmo, Fairfax, Ross and Kentfield. “I think it is important that these acts do not represent the community. They have no place here.”

In response to the incident, a vigil will be held on July 29 at 7 p.m. at the park. Councilmember Steve Burdo is the organizer of the event. He and Colbert will be making remarks.

“This will be a peaceful demonstration with a few local leaders providing brief remarks,” wrote Burdo in a Facebook post. “People who perpetrate these hateful acts operate in the shadows, which is why it is important for us to show up publicly together as a community to denounce such hateful acts.”

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.