City will cover cost of cleaning-up racist, vulgar messages spray-painted at youth practice field in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Community leaders came together Tuesday to respond to hateful and racist graffiti at a youth practice field in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh police and city officials are investigating after racist and vulgar messages and symbols were found spray-painted on the field house at Quarry Field in the South Side Slopes.

A local youth baseball team said this is the second time its field house has been vandalized. The first time was Saturday, and just hours after painting over the graffiti, the team said someone tagged it again.

“It was sprayed on the fences and gates, but it was in a place where I could cover it up with paint real quick, so I painted over it,” said Kevin Alton, president of the South Side Bears.

The field is near South 18th and Crosman streets. Crews already began to clean up the latest graffiti.

The N-word, along with what appeared to be a swastika symbol, was sprayed on the wall.

Police said the tag “Orez” was also painted in the same color paint. Even the security cameras were tagged.

“Disgusting and hateful actions like these have no place in our city and will not be tolerated. Law enforcement will work to identify and prosecute whoever did this to the fullest extent of the law,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.

The wires had also been cut to the security cameras and the scoreboard. Alton estimates there is at least $5,000 worth of damage to the field.

The youth football organization has been using that field for the last six years, but now Alton said he is concerned about the safety and well-being of his nearly 200 kids who use it for practice.

“Why would someone do this? These kids haven’t done anything to anyone,” Alton said. “We definitely want to make sure this building is up to par and everything is put back together.”

Anyone who witnessed or has information regarding the graffiti is asked to call Pittsburgh Police.

Tuesday, Mayor Bill Peduto told the team the city will cover repairs and restoration.

“There’s an entire city behind you right now,” he said. “All the money you raised, I want you to use it toward programming. I want you to use it for the kids. What we promise from the city is that we will take care of all of this.”