WASHINGTON (JTA) — A suburban Milwaukee man has been charged with disorderly conduct and a hate crime after he allegedly removed a Joe Biden campaign sign from a neighbor’s yard and called the neighbor a “dirty Jew.”
Police added the hate crime enhancement to the charges against Gregory Kirst, 49, because of the epithet and alleged shouted accusations that Jews were organizing the rioting in Portland, Oregon, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. Such enhancements allow prosecutors to seek additional penalties.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has established that the neighbors, who are not named in media reports, are Jewish.
After confronting his Jewish neighbors on Sunday in Mequon, Kirst returned to his house, the report said, and used a large piece of white cloth to create a Jews for Trump sign. Kirst was accompanied by his young daughter when he removed the Biden for President sign. Police arrived and arrested him.
Kirst has been charged on multiple occasions and at times convicted for battery. He owns a tattoo parlor in the Milwaukee area and received local media coverage recently for supplying first responders with personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mequon Mayor John Wirth said in a blog post that “most Mequon residents abhor this hateful behavior.” Referring to Kirst’s improvised Jews for Trump poster, Wirth said of Kirst, “his parents tried to raise him Catholic.”