ALLIANCE, Ohio (WJW)– Portia Johnson received a knock on the door from Smith Township police alerting her of this: The N word and male genitals spray-painted in red on the front of the home on North Mahoning Avenue in Alliance.
Her son’s “Student of the Month” sign was also defaced.
“Scared me half to death. I thought something had happened to my husband. But he asked me to put on some clothes and come outside, and that’s when I came around and saw the racial slur,” Johnson said.
“If you see where this is at, I’m 5 feet from my front door. We in there sleep. Now what’s the next step, you coming up 5, 4 feet, you coming in the house?” her husband said.
So why here and why now? This home, built in the 1800s, has been in the Johnson family for 60 years.
The Johnsons are the only African-American family on the block and while there’s still no motive, Portia Johnson said she believes she knows why they were targeted.
“The siege on the Capitol. I think that this presidency has ignited a lot of people to feel emboldened to say things and do things that are not of the American moral values.”
Officers returned to the home Wednesday, informing the family about cans of spray paint found nearby and that they are analyzing fingerprints to identify potential suspects.
Johnson is a principal in the Alliance City School District.
Superintendent Rob Gress releasing a statement which reads in part, “This vandalism included hateful, racist language that we as a school district will not condone or tolerate.”
The district also placed signs just across the street from her home, with words of support, love and encouragement from students and coworkers.
Johnson said she will not remove the graffiti until after the inauguration of our new president. An American flag now overshadows a scene of hate.
“For right now, this is our peaceful protest against people that feel like they can go against the morals of our country.”
The family is offering a $1,000 reward leading to anyone with information to help police identify a suspect and make an arrest.