The Wolf Fastop — a gas station across from the University of Nevada, Reno, campus that gained attention after its marquee showed a photo of Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic is seen urinating on the name “Kaepernick” — was found vandalized Thursday, Nov. 9.
Moe Alazawi, the owner of the gas station, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that his store marquee was shot overnight Wednesday.
“I guess I kind of expected it,” Alazawi said to the RGJ.
The marquee also read “Unemployed need job. Work good on his knees.” When Alazawi went to open the gas station on Thursday, he saw that the word “unemployed” had been shot out of the marquee.
Alazawi originally put on the marquee “Officer Gutierrez standing for food is better than taking a knee” as a response to the criticism UNR police officer Antonio Gutierrez received after a picture of him dressed as a caricature of Colin Kaepernick circulated social media, causing controversy.
“In the beginning, I had no problem with Kaepernick taking a knee, that’s his right and freedom of speech,” Alazawi told The Nevada Sagebrush in an interview about the original marquee. “It’s now getting out of hand every time you do something, this officer didn’t do anything. He was just wearing a costume and went to a costume party with his wife. […] I mean it’s getting out of hand and that’s why I put the sign for him.”
He also said he did not believe the picture and message on his marquee would affect business.
“There is nothing to be concerned about,” Alazawi said. “We can’t speak our minds? Only Kaepernick can express his freedom of speech? We can’t express our freedom of speech? It has nothing to do with anything, it has nothing to do with Kaepernick he tried to do or what message he’s trying to think. I just thought people trashing this decent man for no reason.”
Alazawi is reviewing security footage and has filed a police report.
University Police Services apologized for Officer Gutierrez’s costume after the photo circulated.
“Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another—on or off duty—is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted,” said Chief Adam Garcia. “Behavior such as this magnifies unsafe feelings and lack of trust in police, especially when that individual is responsible for the safety of all members of the University, regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion.”
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.