A small community in Queens, New York is in a state of shock and confusion after a schoolboy was found drawing hurtful and racist graffiti at school. The community, which has a heavy Jewish presence, was very distributed to learn the youngster had drawn several swastikas throughout the school playground, and the images may have provoked fear in many community members.
According to a spokesperson with the New York Police Department, the 12-year-old suspect had also included the phrase “Hail Hitler” with some of the swastikas. The defacement occurred on February 22nd at the playground in Rego Park. A resident who resides in a nearby apartment building saw the images and immediately took photographic proof. She reached out to the authorities, explaining how the area is a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. The Police Department is taking this incident very seriously, and they had their Hate Crimes Task Force look into the situation.
Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, issued a statement regarding the shocking crime. He reminded his citizens that New York has zero tolerance for such hate speech and anti-Semitism. He further explained how children in the area could’ve felt threatened due to their religion. He said, “no student should ever feel discriminated against or threatened.” He denounced the acts as “vile.”
The culprit, a 12-year-old child, has been taken into custody. He is facing aggravated harassment charges. Shortly after his arrest, he was released into his mother’s custody. Due to the minor’s age, most of the details surrounding the case are being withheld. The child is expected to appear in court to face his charges in the coming weeks.