Swastikas at Sonic

Police are investigating who spray-painted swastikas outside the Emporia Sonic Drive-In Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. At the moment, this is not considered a hate crime.

A 19-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly spray-painted swastikas on several local businesses.

Isaac A. Lawrence is charged with five counts of criminal damage to property through Emporia Municipal Court after graffiti — including swastikas — were discovered at Sonic Drive-In, 1101 W. Sixth Ave., Casey's General Store at 3184 W. US-50, Emporia High School, 3302 W. 18th Ave., Pizza Ranch, 3000 W. 18th Ave., and Emporia State University's Visser Hall. 

“We did receive a report of that damage happening during the overnight hours last night,” Capt. Ray Mattas said Wednesday morning. “We have no suspects in mind at this time.”

For some people, a swastika is much more than tagging and graffiti.

While swastikas have a long history of various meanings in cultures, they’ve become associated in the West over the past 100 years with Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

“Since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious of hate symbols, anti-Semitism and white supremacy for most of the world outside of Asia,” the Anti-Defamation League website says.

Kansas has no state hate crime law. Mattas said there’s no reason to believe this is such a case.

“Right now, this seems to be a random criminal-damaged property,” Mattas said. He added that the restaurant owners don’t know of any reason to think they were targeted.

Mattas later confirmed Lawrence's arrest following an investigation. He said the investigation has determined "these crimes to not be hate/biased related at this time." 

The FBI’s most recent hate crime report from 2019 had no mention of any cases in Emporia or Lyon County.

But the U.S. Department of Justice counted 124 “hate crime incidents” across Kansas in 2020. It recorded 85 cases based on race, ethnicity or ancestry, with 28 based on religious bias.

(16) comments


put an ankle chain on the CRETIN and give him a bucket and brush,,,,sentence him to 1000 hours of clean up in Emporia.... with the caveat that if the work was not done in an acceptable way he would be sentenced to the max jail time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Back at it again with the spankings emporia is just a fucking joke.


Your right Rationa1 I should proof read before I post. 🤷‍♂️


You're a good human, Elrod. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings.


Chances are this guy will never see a quart room they’ll do a plea agreement and probably won’t see any time in jail, Even though they should throw the book at him and he should spend time in prison.


I don't have an ounce of faith in Lyon county quarts, not even a half-teaspoon. The sentences handed down always seem to be two pints short of a gallon.


Aim, don't antagonize Elrod. Disagree, argue, and debate, sure. You and they don't have a good enough online relationship to give them a hard time over this typo.


Elrod and I are actually online besties.

Mark W.

Everyone of 19 years of age should know about World War Two and Nazism! The swastika stands for hate and racism throughout the world, including Emporia!


How can we be sure that this isn't the work of anti-fa just to make the Fascists look bad. These fascists have a hard enough job convincing us to support them as it is. Maybe they will have better luck with their new leader, "Brandon" somebody. This incident appears, to me, to be more " young, angry, and stupid" than political or racist.


The swastika is one of the world’s preeminent symbols of hatred. To classify this as not a hate crime is mystifying and simply put, inaccurate.


Even though Kansas doesn't have a hate crime law, the incident should be reported to the Dept. of Justice for record keeping purposes.


Since they have found the small, illiterate beings ( I say illiterate because intelligent people can find better ways to express themselves) who did this, I would hope they will be made to clean it off as punishment, during the day, especially after school is out.


Ain’t that the truth, Aim High


You see this symbol at those "proud boy" meetings and at those MAGA flag waving events... "unite the right" rallies are another safe space for the swastika... none of the other members ever speak up and say something to their fellow nazi flag waving conservatives... we don't know if they agree or are just to afraid to call them out. Those people with the swastika masks during the Jan 6th insurrection come to mind... all those conservatives there and none of them said a word about the swastikas... but they are so quick to call someone wanting a better education system and better health care a socialist. You just can't fix stupid.

An Expatriate Emporian

I'm utterly mystified at the whole "this doesn't appear to be hate crime related" - nobody who draws one doesn't know what it represents. I expect if an actual lynching happened the same officials would comment that "too much shouldn't be read into it being race related"

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