Quantcast

MTA: We only report hateful graffiti to police if it is expensive to clean

Underground hate: A vandal scrawled this hate-filled message on a bench on the Manhattan-bound platform of the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station along the F and G lines.
Community News Group / Bill Roundy

Swastika graffiti is only a hate crime if it’s done in permanent marker, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s logic.

The transit agency does not automatically report hate-filled vandalism found on its property to police, according to an agency spokesman — instead, its workers make a decision on whether to notify authorities based only on how expensive it is to clean off.

The revelation came on Monday when straphangers found “F— Allah” scrawled in marker on a bench at the Fort Hamilton Parkway F stop near Kensington — a neighborhood with a large Muslim population.

When asked whether the agency would report it to authorities, the spokesman said a cleaning crew would go down and decide based on the “severity” of the vandalism. How do they measure severity? The cost to clean and remove it, he said.

The spokesman refused to say whether this was an official policy and if it is pinned to a specific price point.

Regardless, it is a reckless attitude that puts the safety of vulnerable Brooklynites at risk, according to the borough’s commander in chief.

“It is not the MTA’s determination to make whether hate-fueled vandalism rises to a level worthy of notification,” said Borough President Adams, a former police officer. “They must be responsible for reporting any and every act connected with hate speech or threats to the NYPD. Public safety is the ultimate concern, and outweighing that with any other consideration would be irresponsible.”

The authority did ultimately report Monday’s subway scribbles to authorities, a spokesman says, and the Police Department says it is now investigating it as a hate crime.

There has been a spike in racist crimes across the city since Donald Trump won the presidential election, according to police.

In addition to this subway graffiti, someone drew swastikas and “Go Trump!” in a Brooklyn Heights playground, another vandal wrote “Trump!” on the door of the Muslim prayer room at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering Downtown, and yet another bigot scrawled “KKK,” “Trump,” and several swastikas in the stairwell of an apartment building in the Orthodox Jewish part of Williamsburg.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

More from Around New York