Woman arrested in racist graffiti that targeted Democrats in Oklahoma

Allison Johnson, 45, turned herself in to police in Norman, Oklahoma, on Thursday and was being booked on a complaint of terroristic threats.

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By Suzanne Ciechalski and Phil Helsel

A woman has been arrested in a series of racist graffiti in the Oklahoma town of Norman, and she is also thought to have been behind Nazi and other hate messages at an Oklahoma City Democratic building and a Native American nation building, authorities said.

Allison Johnson, 45, was arrested Thursday and is suspected of being responsible for the graffiti at three buildings, including vandalism at a Norman Democratic Party office that was reported Wednesday, Norman police said.

Volunteers clean up racist imagery at the Cleveland County Democratic Party building in Norman, Oklahoma on April 3, 2019.Mary Katherine Long

Norman police public information officer Sarah Jensen said that Johnson turned herself in Thursday.

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Police in Norman, a city of about 110,000 people south of Oklahoma City, and Oklahoma City said that the same suspect is believed responsible for recent hate crime incidents involving graffiti in Oklahoma City, but did not specify those incidents.

However, police in Oklahoma City had reported they were looking for a woman for questioning after Nazi and other graffiti was found at the state Democratic Party and Chickasaw Nation buildings last week.

Jensen said that investigators believe Johnson is responsible for those incidents as well.

Johnson was being booked on a complaint of terroristic threats in the Cleveland County Detention Center, Norman police said in a statement.

The vandalism in that city occurred at the Cleveland County Democratic Party offices, McKinley Elementary School and the Firehouse Arts Center. Some of the graffiti included swastikas and anti-Jewish messages.

The hate-filled messages have been condemned by a range of officials and other organizations, including the University of Oklahoma, which is in Norman.

It was not clear if Johnson has an attorney. Online records for her do not list phone numbers of relatives.

Mark Faulk, chair for the Oklahoma County Democratic Party, told NBC affiliate KFOR of Oklahoma City that her organization was not afraid of the graffiti vandal. "If anything, it’s brought more people together and brought a greater awareness to what we deal with, the racism, the bigotry in Oklahoma," he said.

The "Oklahoma standard is one of love and unity and acceptance for everyone," Faulk told the station.

Richard McKown, an artist whose sculpture outside the Firehouse Arts Center was defaced, had told KFOR that "this is clearly the work of somebody that is absolutely out of their mind," and it was frustrating that he would have to re-do the piece.