Vandalism at Nebraska GOP office

Vandals damaged the Nebraska Republican Party office in Lincoln overnight, Lincoln police said Tuesday.

Vandals in Lincoln shattered a front window at the state headquarters of the Nebraska Republican Party, doing at least $1,200 in damage with two bricks.

Someone also spray-painted graffiti on the sidewalk in front of the GOP offices that said, “ABOLISH ICE.”

That slogan is a rallying cry for some immigration activists on the left who are pushing back against the Trump administration’s aggressive approach to arresting, jailing and deporting people trying to cross the U.S. border. Many activists have cited the separation of families at the border as a turning point against Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

GOP officials said Tuesday that they would board up the windows so volunteers could continue making calls on behalf of Republican candidates from the office at 1610 N St. in Lincoln. They also plan to install security cameras.

Lincoln police say they are canvassing for witnesses, surveillance video and evidence at the scene. A newspaper carrier notified police about the broken window at about 3 a.m.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister issued statements saying police take the incident seriously.

Beutler said vandalism committed because of political disagreement is “reprehensible and should never be tolerated.”

Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the state GOP, said the recent rhetoric of “the resistance” on the left has emboldened people to act out. He said he hoped no party would condone such activity.

Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, condemned the vandalism as a sad and dangerous attack on people’s workplace and beliefs.

“I think it’s a terrifying place that our country is in right now, where people are resorting to violence, vandalism and death threats to political leaders, staff members and candidates,” she said. “And it’s happening to all of us.”

She cited the example of Spencer Danner, the Democratic secretary of state candidate. The former head of the City of Omaha’s Human Rights and Relations Department, who is black, has faced race-based name-calling and threats from Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans have been targeted before as well, including U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, whose Lincoln office was vandalized in December, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, whose family found derogatory signs in its yard on Christmas in 2017.

People with information about the GOP office vandalism should call the Lincoln Police Department at 402-441-6000.

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