Updated: Southfield Police, FBI Investigating Pro-Palestinian Graffiti at Law Firm as Hate Crime

June 06, 2024, 10:10 AM by  Allan Lengel

Photo provided to Deadline Detroit

Chief Elvin V. Barren

Update: 10:05 a.m. Thursday -- The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP), a Palestinian-American group based in Westland, said Wednesday the graffiti attack on the Goodman Acker law firm in Southfield early Monday was offensive and hurtful, the Detroit Free Press reports. There was a personal attack in graffiti against Jordan Acker, a partner in the law firm, who is on the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Acker is Jewish. 

In an open letter to Acker, Chuck Farah, president of the AFRP, wrote: "Those who committed this repugnant act are trying to distract us from our mission and put a wedge between our communities. Hate for the sake of hate has no room in our midst."


Report From June 3


Southfield Police Chief Elvin V. Barren said Monday afternoon that his department, the FBI other agencies are investigating the Pro-Palestinian graffiti and vandalism at the Goodman Acker law firm in Southfield as a hate crime. One of the partners in the firm is University of Michigan Board of Regent Jordan Acker, who is Jewish.

At a press conference, the chief said security cameras captured four people involved in the crime at 1:39 a.m. Monday. 

The vandals sprayed red paint over the "Goodman Acker" name affixed to the building, along with phrases on the wall and sidewalk, "FREE PALESTINE," "DIVEST NOW," "FUCK YOU ACKER" and "UM KILLS."

"This is an enormously difficult moment for me personally and for this entire community," Acker said at the press conference. "Make no mistake that targeting individual Jewish elected officials is anti-Semitism. This has nothing to do with Palestine or the war in Gaza or anything else this is done as a message to scare Jews."

Jordan Acker

"I am deeply grateful for all of the support I've received from across the political spectrum today from my friends in the Arab American community, from all walks of life, Democrats Republicans."

Acker pointed out that his firm is owned by Jews, Muslims and Christians.

He emphasized that he saw the attack against him, a Jewish member of the U-M Board of Regents, as anti-Semitic and "the exact type of action that occurred on Jewish businesses in Germany and in Russia and other countries."

"I am targeted for this because I am Jewish, this neighborhood is Jewish and because some people under the pretext of helping Palestinians feel the obligation to single out Jews, especially liberal ones for an attack," he said. "It is unacceptable, it is unAmerican and it must stop now."

Southfield Mayor Kenson J. Siver,  state Sen. Jeremy Moss, as well attorney Mark Bernstein, another Jewish U-M regent, condemned the attack at the press conference. Ditto for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who did not attend the press conference, but issued a statement:  

“Michigan has been a place where people from all backgrounds, religions, and cultures have lived together peacefully for decades. Violence, vandalism, threats, and intimidation are unacceptable, and what we saw today in Southfield is abhorrent. We must remain united in calling out hatred of any kind and continue working together toward peace in Michigan.”

Last month, police broke up a pro-Palestinian encampment at U-M, saying it was a threat to public safety. Pro-Palestinian students have demanded the school stop investing in companies with ties to Israel.

The Associated Press reports that the university has no direct investments. It says it has less than $15 million in funds that might include companies in Israel, which accounts for 0.1 percent of the total endowment.


Photos provided to Deadline Detroit
provided to Deadline Detroit



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