Police arrested a suspected arsonist in the setting of fires and writing anti-Semitic graffiti in Brooklyn, New York.
By World Israel News
Police on Friday arrested a suspected arsonist in the setting of fires targeting seven Jewish locations and writing anti-Semitic graffiti in the largely Hasidic section of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Police charged James Polite, 26, with four counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime and writing graffiti.
The string of arson fires included synagogues, one yeshiva and one Jewish banquet hall.
Polite is also charged with graffiti found inside the Union Temple on Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights that read “Kill all Jews,” “Hitler,” “Jew Better Be Ready,” “Insert Oven Here,” “End is now,” and other offensive writings.
Former Speaker of the NYC Council, Christine Quinn, said she knew Polite. “I did everything I could to help him as he grew up in and out of the foster care system, in and out of the mental health system, and in and out of homelessness,” she tweeted Saturday.
“The actions he is accused of break my heart and devastate all of us who tried to help him get on solid footing over the years,” Quinn wrote. “And while he has experienced hardship that most people can’t ever imagine, his actions are inexcusable.”
Polite is being held at Woodhull Hospital for psychiatric observation.
A “Get out the Vote” event scheduled at Union Temple to be hosted by Ilana Glazer of Comedy Central’s “Broad City”was cancelled as a result of the graffiti.
“We have a situation … that’s not presenting any immediate danger, but there were hateful, anti-Semitic scrawled all over the space today, very recently within the past couple of hours,” Glazer said. “So we don’t feel safe.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both condemned the anti-Semitic act.
The NYPD says half of all hate crimes in the city are against Jews, with the number of incidents going up in 2018, reports WABC’s Eyewitness News.