Interracial Westlake couple speaks out after hate message found in front yard

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - Westlake police plan to up patrols on Clague Road after a interracial family said they found a Styrofoam cooler covered with hand drawn swastikas on their front lawn Thursday afternoon.

"As soon as I saw the swastika, I stopped dead in my tracks," said Ryan Dunkle.

Ryan and his wife, Ethnedp Dunkle, have lived off Clague Road in Westlake for nearly a year. The young couple has a 2-year-old son.

They said they always felt safe in Westlake, but that all changed in the blink of an eye.

"We really don't feel safe in our own home right now. None of us do," Ryan said.

The couple believes they were targeted because they're interracial.

"This doesn't look like this is a prank. How can you prank someone like this? This is not funny. I don't find it funny at all. There's nothing funny about it. This is hate, pure hateful," Ethnedp said.

Ryan reported the cooler to Westlake police Thursday. Officers said it could have been randomly thrown on the couple's front lawn by someone driving down the road, but the Dunkles said they're suspicious because the Styrofoam cooler was sitting upright and there was an empty plastic bottle propped up inside.

"I don't think this is a coincidence. I don't think this is a joke at all," Ethnedp said.

She wants the incident investigated as a hate crime.

"I'm all for free speech, but come on, man, there's no reason to write all that stuff until it's to purposefully upset somebody," he said.

Even if the cooler was completely random, the couple said they're still heartbroken by the hate they're seeing in their own Westlake neighborhood.

"I just wish this world wasn't this evil. That's all," Ethnedp said.

Westlake police took the cooler and destroyed it.

There are no suspects, as of yet.

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