Swastikas spray painted on MATA bus shelters

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A symbol associated with hate and Nazi Germany and spray painted across bus stops is causing outrage.

Someone vandalized two MATA bus stops with swastikas and the letters W and P.

Many believe the W-P stands for White Power.

While some see it as freedom of expression, others think it is a sign of blatant hate.

Memphis resident C O Norbell said the symbols, spray painted on two MATA stops at Poplar and Cleveland downtown, are all too familiar to him. "I was raised up around it. Some of my family was in the KKK," he admitted.

Norbell said he even attended Klan meetings himself, before war changed how he viewed race.

"I went to Vietnam," he said. "My best friend, we watched each other's backs. He was black. We shared the same blood."

Some bus riders told WREG they were not bothered by the graffiti because it does not impact them directly, regardless of it's underlying meaning.

"Everyone's got their own opinions about how they feel about other cultures," Marshon Sanford said. "I just live my life how I choose to live it."

MATA is working to remove the graffiti, and has contacted police about the vandalism.

Norbell said removing it is a good step, but it cannot remove the hate behind the message.

"We're all human. As long as they keep that stigma going, we'll never be able to get rid of that right yonder," he said, pointing to the swastikas. "We've got to start looking at each other as human beings."

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