an arch over a quaint downtown street says "Fairfield: Seat of Solano County"
Downtown Fairfield (Photo/Wikimedia-Missvain CC BY 4.0)

Gang graffiti mistaken for antisemitic symbols in North Bay town of Fairfield

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Graffiti on a warehouse in Fairfield, decried by a local Jewish group as antisemitic, was in fact the markings of Norteño street gangs, according to the Fairfield Police Department.

Susan George was enjoying a barbecue picnic fundraiser for local Democrats last weekend in the city of 100,000 when she spotted the graffiti, which included a Star of David, across the street from the park.

She was dismayed to find what she believed were white supremacist symbols spray-painted on the side of an industrial property.

In black paint, someone had drawn a Star of David and the number 14 (in both Arabic and Roman numerals), which is often code for a 14-word antisemitic slogan used by white supremacists.

George contacted the Fairfield police and posted a lengthy statement, with photos of the markings, on the Jewish Democratic Club of Solano County’s Facebook page.

“On Saturday, May 20, 2023, a member of the Jewish Democratic Club of Solano County spotted the anti-Jewish and racist graffiti pictured below,” the statement read. “The Star of David next to the number 14 is stressing the white supremacist view that Jews are responsible for allowing our country to become a nation of immigrants, with people of all colors.”

However, a spokesperson for the Fairfield Police Department later told J. that the graffiti is gang-related.

“The spray painted symbols in question are common Norteño Street Gang symbols and are not believed to have any reference to the Jewish faith,” police spokesperson Jennifer Brantley told J. in an email.

“Upon reviewing the graffiti, this particular tagging is indicative of an inexperienced gang member or unaffiliated subject attempting to copy gang-related taggings,” she wrote.

Brantley said “XIV,” “SK” and “14” presented as Norteño symbols — the letter N is the 14th letter of the alphabet. Norteños also use a star symbol, but it is not a Star of David.

Among white supremacists, “14” refers to a set of 14 words by a white supremacist leader that the Anti-Defamation League calls “the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world.”

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.