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Racist graffiti targets Chapel Hill town worker

Words and drawings posted in a Public Works Department bathroom targeted a former president of the Black Public Works Association and have prompted two investigations.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Two investigations are under way into racist graffiti inside a Chapel Hill town building.

So far, the graffiti has targeted one man, who spoke Thursday about what was written and what he wants to happen next.

Jerry Neville said the graffiti started showing up in February in a bathroom inside one of the buildings at the new Town Operations Center complex off Millhouse Road.

At first, it was sexually profane, he said. By April, it had turned more personal.

He found “racist remarks that were written on the bathroom wall," he said. They either had his last name or initials next to them.

Neville took pictures. The images include profanity, a racial slur, a satanic symbol, references to the KKK and a black noose.

"It's hurtful,” Neville said simply.

There are also references to BPWA, the acronym of the Black Public Works Association. Neville said the group fights for pay raises for low-wage employees and that he believes he was targeted because he once served as president of the group.

"I don't think the organization of the Ku Klux Klan is entrenched in the town. I think it's one or two people that are disgruntled," Neville said. He said he has received support from many co-workers and town officials condemning the behavior.

Chapel Hill police aren't giving details about their investigation, saying only that they are looking into complaints that go back as far as may. The town is also doing an administrative investigation.

A statement from Town Manager Roger L. Stancil says the behavior is "not tolerated or permitted" and that any town employee responsible could be fired.

Neville said he would just like to get through a work day without worrying every time he walks in the bathroom.

"How would you like to walk in the bathroom with your name printed on the wall in a negative way?" he said.

In Durham, meanwhile, Duke University police say they may never know the source of racist graffiti on their campus.

Earlier this month, someone carved the letters "KKK" on a computer at Duke Hospital North. The computer is located in the hospital's Food Services Department.