BATAVIA, Ill. (CBS) — A man known as Jake the Striper has done decal work for hundreds of thousands of police cars.
But now, several of his longtime clients are calling it quits after racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic posts came to light.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, Batavia was the first police department to cut ties with Jake Zaagman. And in the weeks since, others have followed.
The bold black and blue graphics on the Batavia Police Department’s cruisers, and those yellow and brown custom letters printed on both Cook and Fulton counties’ sheriff’s police squad cars, were the work of Zaagman – based in Batavia and known by his business title “Jake the Striper.”
We interviewed Zaagman for an unrelated story in 2018.
He has done the decals for dozens of departments, and well over 200,000 police cars.
“Taxpayers cannot support that,” said John Kettering. “It sends the wrong message.”
But Jake the Striper’s business has hit a snag in recent weeks.
“It was super easy to find this stuff,” Kettering said. “It’s just vicious and evil and mean.”
Kettering and some friends came across Zaagman’s Facebook posts, took screen shots, and emailed the various police departments and cities who spend taxpayer dollars with him.
“My assumption was not that any department knew he held these views,” Zaagman said. “It’s, what are you going to do about it now that you know?”
The Batavia Police Department severed ties with Zaagman within an hour, Kettering said. The department wrote on Facebook, “These social media posts can only be described as racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and otherwise appalling in nature.”
The Fulton County Sheriff said, “This office will not knowingly associate with individuals that promote hate.”
The Cook County Sheriff’s office also ended its relationship with Zaagman, who worked as a subcontractor.
The College of Lake County said it is reviewing its relationship.
“This was very tangible,” Kettering said. “It was a tactile way to make a difference.”
Zaagman’s now-scrubbed social media was a steady stream of misogynist, racist, and homophobic postings.
One of his posts shows a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the words “take this down.” The post reads, “If you plan on removing Confederate statues, this one should be removed as well!!!”
“Our tax dollars should not promote un-American world views,” Kettering said. “It’s good to see that people have severed ties.”
We spoke to Jake the Striper on the phone Monday morning to give him a chance to comment. He texted back later in the day saying he had no comment.
We heard back from a number of police departments who have used Jake the Striper in the past, including the Chicago Police Department. All say they will take their business elsewhere.