Charges filed against Shawano man for racist graffiti at schools

Photo: Shawano County Jail

SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Shawano man has been charged with six counts with hate crime modifiers for racist graffiti spray-painted at schools.

Payton M. Pagel, 18, is charged with three counts of Criminal Damage to Property - Hate Crime; and three counts of Make Lewd, Obscene or Indecent Drawings - Hate Crime.

On July 22, police were called to Olga Brener school at 1300 block of S Union St for a report of vandalism. A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News says several racist and sexist words, phrases and images were tagged on the building: the "n-word"; "kill the n-word"; a swastika; male genitalia; and the "c-word."

The paint "was about seven feet above ground level and appeared to be applied with either a brush or roller," reads the criminal complaint.

An officer also found the same paint on a baseball shed behind Shawano Middle School.

On Aug. 7, the "n-word" was found painted on Shawano High School. The phrase "88 brother" was also painted on the building. The number 88 is a reference to "Heil Hitler" among white supremacists.

On Aug. 12, police arrested Payton Pagel for stealing a van and damaging the vehicle. Police noticed Pagel's shoes looked similar to ones seen in surveillance video from the high school. Officers collected the shoes as evidence. They also received permission to search Pagel's phone.

Investigators learned that black paint was missing from Pagel's home.

Officers interviewed Payton Pagel about the vandalism. He admitted to the crimes, according to the criminal complaint.

Officers asked Pagel why he did it. Pagel said he did it "to be funny."

Pagel said two friends named "Danny" and "James" were also involved in the vandalism, but police have not been able to determine if those friends even exist.

Criminal Damage to Property and Indecent Drawings charges are misdemeanors. The Hate Crime modifier bumps the Criminal Damage charges up to felonies. The Indecent Drawings charges will also come with a more several penalty.

Pagel is also charged with several counts in the stolen vehicle case. He appeared in court and was released on a $5,000 signature bond. As condition of bond, he cannot set foot on Shawano school property.

Pagel is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 3.