A 26-year old man was reportedly arrested by the NYPD in the latest upsurge of anti-Semitic attacks that have gripped the nation in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that took place last week, leaving 11 Jews dead.
James Polite, 26, has been charged with four counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime and of creating graffiti after the walls inside the Union Temple on Eastern Parkway in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn were found scrawled with such hateful epithets are “Kill all Jews” and “Hitler” among other offensive language.
Reportedly using a black marker inside a stairwell in the synagogue, Polite allegedly defaced the building, causing enough fear that synagogue officials cancelled a political event that was scheduled to take place there.
Moreover, Polite has been charged with setting fires outside yeshivas and synagogues in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and another fire at a banquet hall.
On Friday, law enforcement officials said that Polite was under psychiatric evaluation at Woodhull Hospital.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said, “This individual went into the facility, a facility where people go to pray and worship, and scrawled some pretty derogatory hate filled messages.”
Broad City actress Ilana Glazer who was to have hosted the “Get out the Vote” event at the Union Temple said of the anti-Semitic vandalism, ” “What was scary was that it was all over the building, and then the cops were kind of searching the building. It was too freaky. It was too freaky to hold it.”
Glazer was scheduled to host a political forum with state candidates Andrew Gounardes, Jim Gaughran and left-wing talk show host Amy Goodman when the decision to cancel the event was made.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate, releasing the following statement:
“I am disgusted by the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti at a house of worship in Brooklyn. At a time when the nation is still reeling from the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, New Yorkers stand united with the Jewish community and against hate in all its forms. In New York, we have zero tolerance for discrimination in our laws or in our spirit. I have directed the State’s Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate this hideous act and hold those responsible accountable to the full extent of the law.
As governor, I am also doing everything in my power to ensure our religious institutions are free from violence and intolerance. This week, we announced the launch of an additional $10 million grant program to help protect New York’s non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions. The disgusting rhetoric and heinous violence in this nation has reached a fever pitch and is ripping at the fabric of America, and it must stop. In New York, we have forged community through chords of commonality and we will always stand together against hate and discrimination.”
On Saturday. Christine Quinn, the former Speaker of the NYC Council, said in a tweet that she knows the suspect personally and along with social service agencies throughout the city “did everything they could to help him as he grew up in and out of the foster system, mental health system and homelessness.”
She said that Polite’s actions were inexcusable and that she stands with the Jewish community today, and every day and pray for all New Yorkers who deserve the very basic right to enter their place of worship without fearing for their lives.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the graffiti is the vilest kind of hate. “It’s deeply disturbing to all New Yorkers and something we don’t accept here in this city,” he said.
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