Ralph Ford: Vandals paint swastika on Jewish man's front door, scare him into moving

Neighbors call him snitch

CINCINNATI – Vandals who painted a mark of hate on an East Price Hill home have scared the residents into moving.

Ralph Ford is Jewish and moved to Wells Street two years ago.

He said his trouble began after he called police to report prostitution and drug dealing on his street.

He said vandals siphoned gas from his car, flattened his tires and broke into his house.

But the retaliation and hatred culminated when he opened the front door Thursday morning and found a swastika painted on it.

"We opened the door this morning around 7 o'clock to walk the dog and me and my wife were both shocked, in instant fear," Ford said. "I've got post traumatic stress disorder, depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), so instant cold chills.

"I do not feel safe here any longer. I'm ready to make my exit out of here."

Neighbors who didn't want to go on the record referred to Ford as a snitch.

"Hopefully, no more bad luck will come his way," a neighbor said.

Ford said the neighborhood has gone downhill since he and his wife moved there.

Some people made it especially hard for him because he's Jewish, he said.

"At the time it was very ethnically diverse. We didn't have problems, but slowly over time different people found out the way I believe and the way we live here and it's just gotten worse," Ford said. "People around here, they just don't appreciate other people and other religions.

"I try not to publicize who I am and what I believe, but with the hatred -- it's just sheer hatred.

"I know a few days ago I had a group of people outside yelling white power and it was kind of unnerving."

The swastika was the last straw.

"The swastika to me is evil -- a prejudiced thing and a cleansing type of thing -- and it really hit me close to home. It really bothers me," Ford said.

"I fear. I worry about it. I worry about my wife. I know my father and mother will not come and visit me here. It's not safe. None of our relatives will come and visit us here."

Ford said he was just trying to be a good citizen by reporting trouble to the police.

"When I see the prostitution and the drug deals right here in front of my home, I call the police," Ford said. "I give license numbers. I do what I am supposed to do as a model citizen and yet that aggravates people."

Ford said he went to jail himself a year ago because he got into a dispute with neighbors.

"When the police come and I say, 'So-and-so threatened me,'  they lie and say,  'Well, he threatened us,' and the police say, 'Well, I'll take you both to jail and let the judge sort it out.'

"I spent two days in jail for criminal menacing. There was no evidence. It was thrown out of court, but the point was I was the victim and I still went to jail for two days."

Police respond to his calls, Ford says, but the people who cause problems are long gone by the time they arrive.

"Price Hill with the crime -- I can call for help -- it's not the police force fault, but sometimes there's a two-, three-, five-hour delay in response time, " Ford said. "I know in this morning's incident, the response time was zero. They were here in a flash.

"I've already had a lieutenant from investigations call me and said she's on this, she'll get back with me soon.
It sounds like this they're taking seriously and things are going to move forward."

East Price Hill's Bloc Ministries wants to mediate the dispute and the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission is looking into the matter.

Still, Ford is unnerved to the point where he wants to move -- and soon.

"It was a not-thought-out decision to move here," Ford said. "A friend of mine owns the house -- or was a friend of mine. I moved here to protect his interests and to keep people from ripping the house off for copper.

"I've been in contact with the rabbi and he's praying for me and I have different people trying to help me get new residence on the eastern or the northeastern side of town, where I'm from.

"I'm originally from the Eastgate/Glen Este area, where things were a lot safer."

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