Baltimore
Baltimore iStock

A man has been charged by police after witnesses in a southeastern Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood saw him painting swastikas on light poles.

Zeke Cohen, a council member who represents the Fells Point waterfront district, is urging authorities to upgrade the charges to a hate crime because of the “enormous mount of harm” the Nazi symbol causes, reported WBAL TV.

"It's incredibly concerning when we see these types of hate symbols that literally represent genocide and murder," Cohen said. "That is a symbol of hate and prejudice directly felt within our community, and so we do want to make sure the proper charges are filed."

Cohen told WBAL that he’s spoken to many concerned residents in the neigborhood.

"It is simply not acceptable to draw swastikas to create any sort of hate symbol and graffiti within our community, and it caused an enormous amount of harm, an alarm for residents that live here in Fells Point," he said.

Cohen added that the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office is in the process of determining whether the case will be upgraded to a hate crime.

Some residents of the community have taken it upon themselves to remove the large swastikas. Two local artists painted rainbow hearts over the hate symbols.