Arrest made in anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted in popular Chinatown intersection

Photo of anti Semitic graffiti spray painted in popular Chinatown intersection in Aug. of 2016 in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. (Metropolitan Police/Twitter)

The animals painted at the intersection of 7th and H Streets in Chinatown are meant to celebrate the Chinese zodiac. But instead the rats in the road had the word “Jew” written on them several times in the past three weeks.

“The very first time that it came, we got down here immediately and cleaned it up,” said Kristi Whitfield, the director of public space operations for Downtown DC Business Improvement District.

Whitfield says her office worked with DC police to spot the graffiti and help identify a suspect. Police say a swastika was also painted on a Starbucks window at the intersection.

Downtown DC Bid looks after 138 city blocks. Once that graffiti started popping up, crews started their morning here hoping to clean it before the public saw it.

There are cameras in the area and on Monday police arrested 60-year-old Generoso Capodilupo.

Police count five incidents of graffiti, but Whitfield says Downtown DC Bid cleaned up the markings six times.

“The beginning of any kind of hate speech needs to be nipped in the bud because as it starts with graffiti that can generate an emotion that people start to act upon,” said Rick Watson, who works in Chinatown.

Capodilupo is charged with several counts of defacing public or private property.

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