Today’s news:

Is this a symbol of hate?

The Brooklyn Paper

Thugs scrawled two swastikas in Carroll Park this week, but police are not investigating it as a hate crime.

Park keepers quickly scrubbed away the anti-Semitic icons on Tuesday after The Brooklyn Paper notified officers in the 76th Precinct that the World War I monument in the neighborhood park had been defaced with black magic marker.

Locals were appalled that vandals emblazoned the logo of the Third Reich — likely during the Passover holiday, no less — in the popular park, which is bounded by Court, Smith, President and Carroll streets.

“It’s awful and shocking,” said Hope Wurmfeld, who was in the park on Tuesday. “I can’t imagine why anybody would do such a thing. It seems like a neighborhood where everybody is caring.”

But police said that the crime is a simple case of vandalism because there’s no clear indication that the culprits painted one of history’s most notorious symbols of hatred were motivated by prejudice.

“The mere display of a swastika is not necessarily a hate crime,” said Captain Kenneth Corey, the commanding officer in the 76th Precinct.

“The initial impulse [not to classify it as a hate crime] was because of where it is, because it doesn’t appear to target a specific group and because it appears to be juvenile graffiti,” he added.

Corey said such vandalism would be a more clear-cut act of bias if the hooligans tagged a synagogue or wrote anti-Jewish slurs in addition to the venal Nazi emblem.

Jewish organizations said that a swastika is inherently anti-Semitic, but understood that the “hate crime” classification may have a different standard.

“There’s no question that it’s a symbol of hate,” said Joel Levy, the New York director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“The complicating matter is that young people are using swastikas as a symbol of rebellion. There’s no actual hate [in them], and they might not be aware of the its deeper meaning.”

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Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Somebody tell Capt. Corey that Prince just changed his name to the symbol "swastika" because it's just mere graffiti and he was not targeting an audience. Tell him to explain it to the jewish parent who takes his child to the park to play, that he was not the target of this offensive graffiti. With Capt. Corey's experience in policing gangs in New York it seems to me he drop the ball at Carroll Park. Maybe classifying it as a hate crime would smudge the stats at the 76 Pct?
April 15, 2009, 2:14 pm
Hugh Storite from Brooklyn says:
Maybe ..the teens were just comemorating the 45th Division in World War One..this week..they used the Swastika as their Unit emblem..until 1939..!!
See..kids are learning in schools these days..!!
Isn't it wonderful..!!??!!
April 16, 2009, 1:57 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Pacholo: Really, calm down.

Generally, what is the difference between regular graffiti and hate graffiti? Does it really matter?
Shouldn't we look at the crime, not it's motivations? Why does a crime done for one particular reason have to be classified differently than the exact same crime comitted for other reasons?

Hugh: interesting comment.
April 16, 2009, 11:48 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Mike, that's a question that can only be answer by the brass at the Pencil Palace.
April 18, 2009, 12:38 am
hugh from jarse says:
How lame can people become.Kid draws in park.Finished already.
June 1, 2011, 5:54 pm

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