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NYPD, state police investigating swastika painted on a tree in Bay Ridge

swastika
A before-and-after of a spray painted swastika found outside of a Bay Ridge home on June 27.
Photos courtesy of Councilmember Justin Brannan

Police have launched a hate crime investigation after finding a swastika plastered on a tree outside a Bay Ridge home early Sunday morning.

The vandals are believed to have spray painted the swastika at around 1 am on June 27 in front of a home on 85th street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, a police spokesperson told Brooklyn Paper. 

Police said there were no official suspects as of Monday morning, but local pols said in statements that surveillance footage showed a group of teens as the culprits. 

“Greatly upset that a swastika was found in Bay Ridge & even more disturbed that video shows it was done by young teens,” wrote state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who represents a swath of southern Brooklyn that includes Bay Ridge, on Twitter. 

The area’s councilman, Justin Brannan, said he immediately had the anti-Semitic marking removed as soon as it came to his attention — and argued that no matter the age of the vandalizers, their use of a swastika needs to be “taken seriously.” 

“I had it removed as soon as it was brought to my attention. Based on video footage, it looks like it was done by young teens,” Brannan said on Facebook. “The swastika is a symbol of anti-Semitism, hatred, mass murder, and terror and its appearance must be taken seriously even if it was the work of some young kids. Spray painting a swastika is not a joke or some silly prank.”

The pol credited local power washing company Eco Clean Industries for ridding the tree of the vandalism promptly and free of charge.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is having the swastika investigated as a hate crime on the state level in a Monday morning statement, and commended the local community for the swift removal of the image. 

“I am disgusted to learn that a swastika was spray-painted on a tree in Bay Ridge, and I thank the members of the local community for doing all of us a service and removing it from sight,” the governor said. “These ignorant anti-Semitic hate crimes against our Jewish brothers and sisters are an attack on all New Yorkers.”

Hate crimes are up nearly 123 percent across the city year-to-date, compared to the same time period last year, according to NYPD data. In South Brooklyn, they’re up 45.8 percent, according to the data — with 35 reported year-to-date as of June 20, opposed to 24 in the same time period last year.

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