Man charged with hate crimes for antisemitic vandalism at Spokane synagogue

Raymond S. Bryant
Raymond S. Bryant, the man arrested for vandalizing the Temple Beth Shalom by spray painting swastikas on the Temple and defacing a holocaust memorial, has been charged with hate crimes, court documents say.

The court documents contain witness testimony that led to the investigation and eventual arrest of Bryant for his crimes that occurred on February 8th.

Two witnesses provided statements to police, a woman who first came upon the graffiti at around 9:30am on February 8th, and a man who has dealt with threats to the Temple in the past. Both witnesses are members of the Temple.

After reviewing still photos of security footage, the male witness told police he was confident that it was Bryant who was caught on camera at around 3:00am on February 8th coming to the Temple and conducting the vandalism. During the act, the man on film realizes the Temple has security cameras, and spray paints over them.

Further testimony in the court documents include police officers who responded to the scene to investigate, including an SPD detective.

The detective says that he reviewed the footage, observing the man walking up to the Temple, spray painting the swastikas, holocaust memorial, and cameras, and leaving five minutes later. The detective observed what the man was wearing, which including a face mask that had a hand drawn swastika and other Nazi propaganda on it.

With the male witness being confident that it was Bryant in the security footage, the detective began to investigate Bryant's history. The detective found that Bryant was a member of an anti-Semitic white supremacist organization. The detective discovered photos of Bryant wearing a jacket with the group's name, standing in front of a Nazi flag, and giving a "sieg heil" salute.

The detective also found a photo of Bryant and others standing in front of the Temple Beth Shalom while giving a Nazi salute. In the photo, Bryant was also holding anti-Semitic flyers with a swastika on them. The detective found that in August of 2020, Bryant uploaded a video to YouTube where he walked through a Yoke's Fresh Market, leaving similar flyers behind on store shelves in hopes to recruit more people to his group. These flyers have been found in Spokane in other incidents, most recently when they were dropped off at KHQ by a man caught on security footage.

On February 16th, detectives went to Bryant's address to question him. Bryant originally said that he had never been to the Temple Beth Shalom, then changed his story saying he had been there once. The detectives showed Bryant a photo of his car, which was sitting in the driveway just a few feet away, in the area of the Temple on February 12th (not the night of the vandalism).

The detectives began to press Bryant for the truth, and eventually Bryant admitted to going to the Temple the night of the vandalism. When asked what he was doing there, the court documents say Bryant wanted to drum up interest for his group, hoping the vandalism would garner publicity. Bryant told the detectives what he did was "stupid", and "it wasn't worth it."

Bryant admitted to spray painting the swastikas on the building, vandalizing the holocaust memorial, and spray painting over the cameras. He said he then ditched the paint and some of his clothing in a dumpster down the road.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Bryant's home and vehicle. During the search they located clothing that Bryant was wearing when he was caught on security camera during the act of the vandalism, and more documents that indicated Bryant held anti-Semitic beliefs.

Based on the obtained evidence, witness statements, and the detective's own observations, Bryant was charged with Hate Crime - Malicious Mischief and 2nd Degree Malicious Mischief. Bryant appeared in court for the first time today.

Source: khq