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Community cleans up racist graffiti from Tacoma couple's home

Community members made sure that the paint was cleaned up, but the pain remains.

TACOMA, Wash. — A 75-year-old Tacoma man who spent months inside recovering from COVID-19 walked out of his house to find a racist message spray-painted onto his garage. 

Robert and Melody Batie are familiar with America's racial wounds. 

"That a person thinks, in 2020, they can write this on someone’s garage and get away with it, and that’s basically what they’re doing," said Robert Batie. 

He came out of his house on Monday, for the first time in weeks, only to find expletives, including the N-word, painted onto his garage. 

"For someone to do this, this is bodacious, this is crazy, it’s 2020,” Robert Batie said.

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The interracial couple has dealt with blatant racism before. Melody Batie said early in their marriage she lost jobs once her employers found out her husband was black.

"Fifty-five years we’ve been married to turn around to say we haven’t gone anywhere, it hasn’t changed,“ said Melody Batie. 

This time around, they want people to understand the depths of frustration and hurt among the black community. 

"This is the new 2020 lynching, the name hasn’t lost its meaning, it still means the same thing,” said Robert.

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Anthony Sinisgalli lives in the neighborhood and posted a photo of Robert Batie standing in front of the vandalized garage on Facebook. 

Sinisgalli said he broke down into tears when he saw the racist message left on his neighbor's home. The post has since been shared hundreds of times resulting in the community stepping in to repaint the couple's home. 

Credit: KING 5

Although for Robert Batie, even with the graffiti gone, the pain will still be there. 

"You do all the right things, you go to college, you pay your tithing, you raise your kids properly, you teach your kids how to get into society, and if you don’t have this, you have a cop with your foot on your neck,” he said.