Hate symbols against COVID vaccines seen in N. Kitsap

Hate symbols protesting COVID-19 vaccines were displayed on signs this week in parts of North Kitsap.

The signs show a backward swastika design with syringes and state, “Losing Patience,” to presumably express frustration and intimidation regarding certain vaccine mandates, said Pam Keeley, who sent an email about the situation to Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and other city leaders. Keeley is a write-in candidate for City Council against incumbent Dave Musgrove in the Nov. 2 general election.

Along with near Poulsbo, Keeley said signs were displayed in areas of Suquamish and Bainbridge Island, attached to posts or county road signs.

The signs were first to brought to the attention of many through a post on the North Kitsap Community Facebook page. Keeley’s email states one of the signs was in the area of Stottlemeyer Road and Gunderson Road, while others were seen in the Sherman Hill and Viking Avenue area.

In response to Keeley’s email, Poulsbo Police Chief Ron Harding said police departments across Kitsap County, as well as Sheriff John Gese, have communicated about these “troubling” signs.

“The jurisdictions where signs have been located are investigating this activity,” Harding said in the email. “To date, no signs have been posted in Poulsbo. Nonetheless, I have alerted our officers to their presence and asked for vigilance in their patrols of the city and response to calls. Thankfully, the response from community members has been very appropriate – they have removed and destroyed the signs.”

Additionally, Keeley asked for action from elected officials to condemn “racist hate messaging in Kitsap.” She said Councilmember Andrew Phillips hangs a Blue Lives Matter flag during virtual council meetings and nothing has been done about it.

“Combined with the tacit approval of Poulsbo’s mayor and other council members, it telegraphs a tolerance for symbols of white supremacy and other hateful sentiments and violent organizations in our community,” Keeley’s email states. “Repeated pleas from the community to establish a race equity advisory group and other constructive measures continue to languish in the Public Safety and Legal Committee.”