Man arrested, tied to antisemitic graffiti in Brookhaven, cops say

A man was arrested Monday and accused of spray-painting antisemitic messages in Brookhaven on two occasions this month, police said.

Anthony Freshwater of Peachtree Corners is facing four counts of hate-crime criminal damage to property, vandalism at a place of worship and three counts of loitering and prowling. Brookhaven police spokesman Sgt. Jake Kissel said the 25-year-old was tied to several slurs found on private property, a church sign and other objects.

The graffiti first popped up Nov. 1 when police said they were called to Dresden Drive and Apple Valley Road. Kissel said officers found phrases, such as “Jews kill Blacks,” on the side of a townhome, underneath an overpass, on the University Baptist Church sign and a stop sign.

Ten days later, Kissel said officers were again called to Dresden Drive and found that the windows of a wine store and eye care center had been vandalized with more messages, including “Jews own Black slaves.”

All of the graffiti has since been removed.

Investigators said they used surveillance footage to identify the suspect’s car. On Nov. 11, Kissel said the suspect parked his vehicle and then walked along Dresden Drive before spray-painting the two businesses. Additional traffic camera footage helped investigators identify the vehicle used in both incidents, according to police.

On the day of Freshwater’s arrest, investigators went to his home to question him about his involvement, Kissel said. Freshwater declined to make a statement and was taken into custody without incident, Kissel added. He remains in the DeKalb County Jail.

ExploreRise in antisemitic incidents tied to hate groups

Metro Atlanta has seen a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents in 2022, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. According to researchers with the Anti-Defamation League, through October there have been 17 reported incidents in the metro area. That’s nearly double the 2021 total and does not include incidents in the distant suburbs and the rest of the state.

“There is no place for hate in Brookhaven, whether it is antisemitic graffiti or any other kind of divisive rhetoric which seeks to target, marginalize or stigmatize any racial or ethnic group,” Mayor John Ernst said. “We have come too far collectively to allow the actions of one or more persons to try to reverse the progress we have made.”