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Hate grime: Local leaders condemn vulgar, anti-Chinese graffiti in Bensonhurst

Councilman Mark Treyger, at podium, Borough President Adams, right, at and Assemblyman William Colton, at left, joined forces with the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn at an Aug 6 press conference to demand that the authorities find the perpetrators of the vile, anti-Chinese graffiti, and prosecute them for hate crimes.
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They won’t take the hate.

The Police Department must track down the bigots who scrawled racist, anti-Chinese graffiti at various sites throughout Bensonhurst, demanded local leaders and Borough President Adams, who said the vulgar vandalism — which was mass-produced across the neighborhood using spray paint and a stencil — bore all the hallmarks of a hate crime, and must be prosecuted as such.

“This was a pre-meditated action to identify a group and treat them in a disparaging, negative fashion — that to me says hate crime all over it, and that crime needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Adams said on Monday, when he revealed he’s offering a $1,000 reward for tips that lead to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

The stenciled black paint left a profane message — “Chinese C---- Stink Like Fish” — displayed at various locations in the neighborhood.

A Police Department rep told this newspaper that its Hate Crime Task Force is investigating three of the graffiti incidents — at a Chinese market on 86th Street at Bay 25th Street, on a column on 86th Street across from Bay 26th Street, and outside a New Utrecht Avenue funeral home between 85th and 86th streets — as possible bias incidents.

A rep for Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) said he saw the same grotesque graffiti scrawled at no less than seven locations.

Police later released a video believed to show the perpetrator stenciling the vulgar message on the wall of a 20th Avenue supermarket between 85th and 86th streets around 2:30 am on Aug. 4, and are asking the public’s help in identifying him.

Treyger and Assemblyman William Colton (D–Bensonhurst) joined Adams to denounce the graffiti at the rally, along with reps from the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn. Treyger condemned the “disgusting, hateful behavior” on social media, writing that the neighborhood’s strength is found in its diversity.

“We celebrate our diversity in this community, and your disgusting behavior will not be tolerated,” Treyger tweeted to the unknown perpetrators.

Colton called on the community to unite against such racism, and pledged to make sure this incident becomes an opportunity to bring locals together, rather than let it tear them apart.

“All must unite together to protect our neighborhood and all its families from such conduct,” the assemblyman said. “I will work to bring us together to ensure this attack on our neighborhood will not divide us but will make us all the more determined to work together for a better and safer neighborhood for all our families.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 12:00 am, August 8, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from Bay Ridge says:
Disgusting, hateful actions like this should be condemned and rejected. But the crime here is vandalism. Criminalizing thought, even hateful thought like this, is bad policy and contrary to the principles of free speah and the 1st Amendment. Arrest this cretin and prosecute him for vandalism.
Aug. 8, 6:54 am
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
Hate crimes, physical actions or graffiti that is malicious and bigoted is not protected speech moron. The key word here is 'chinese' stupid. Maybe the PD shpould go to the town hall meetings of all the bigots in Dyker should be easy to find.
Aug. 8, 9:09 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
@ Frank, you may want to familiarize yourself with the 1st Amendment. Offensive speech is protected by the constitution. Only speech that poses an imminent risk of danger or violence (the classic examples from court decisions are yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or saying “fighting words” to another person or persons in a setting where violence is likely to result) may be stifled by the government.

Again I think that what this person did is disgusting. But thoughts or words, no matter how offensive, should never be a crime unless they satisfy the very narrow exceptions discussed above. Expose this person as an ignorant bigot and prosecute him for vandalism. Hate crimes statutes to punish thought, however, are a huge mistake. What constitutes “hate” can easily be manipulated as time goes on to punish unpopular thought or opposition to those in power.
Aug. 8, 9:28 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Love is all you need to solve most of the problems in the world
Aug. 8, 9:30 am
Frank from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Frank from Bensonhurst who side are you on? Traitor!
Aug. 8, 10:42 am
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
@John,Bias crime is a criminal offense that is committed against a person, PROPERTY, group of people, or society motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a religion, race, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin. A bias crime is often referred to as a hate crime. A bias crime is committed pursuant to the perpetrator’s bias against the group to which the victim belongs.
Aug. 8, 11:11 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
@ Frank from Bensonhurst,
I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with you last post. I am arguing that bias or hate crime statutes are an attempt to criminalize certain thoughts. Even though I and most people may find this person’s behavior to be disgusting, criminalizing disgusting, bigoted thought is, in my view, both foolish and unconstitutional. Once this person is arrested, there are a variety of crimes to charge him with that don’t involve thought crimes; such as vandalism or criminal trespass.
Aug. 8, 11:43 am
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
@John, so based on your argument a thought ie; I hate ....... people and go out and kill based on my thoughts that I despise a certain group, I should not be prosecuted under the hate crime statute ? Come on now be realistic. A thought is not constitutionally protected when the action is a crime. Ever hear about motive ? That's a thought too.
Aug. 8, 12:15 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
@Frank
Your example is a direct incitement to violence, which supports the argument I have been making.
Aug. 8, 2:42 pm
Frank from Bensonhutrst says:
@John, graffiti is a crime, which supports my argument. Not all crimes are violent crimes. If someone harasses, verbally someone else by spewing hateful bigoted speech, the motivation or thought may be considered a hate crime of harassment. I could go on forever but have to go back to work now bye.
Aug. 8, 3 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Frank, nice try, but you'd have better luck trying to explain free speech law to a cranberry.

A couple small points to clarify your posts: First, "falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater" was never the law. It was only dictum, by Justice Holmes, who later admitted it was a mistake. Second, the "incite violence" exception is not as broad as you stated. It applies only where the speech "is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." As I recall a recent SCOTUS case addressed this point and reaffirmed its narrow application.
Aug. 8, 3:27 pm
Mark from PPW says:
Hate speech is not protected, you idiot.
You numbskulls always scream "1st amendment!" and have no idea what it means:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redress of grievances.
Aug. 8, 6:38 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Several of you are value based judgments based on what is admittedly odious conduct by this person. But that’s s a very superficial and results oriented approach, and by using it you are ignoring the policy and legal implications of the increasing rush in this country to restrict free speech. The fact is that what is commonly called “hate speech” is indeed protected speech under the constitution, and if you don’t think that the present hate crime statutes are an attempt to criminalize certain types of expression you are delusional. A vast array of criminal statutes are available to prosecute vandalism, assaults, etc. Further, judges are free to consider aggravating factors in sentencing. Criminalizing certain forms of speech, no matter how offense, is a totalitarian response that has proven, time and time again, to lead to abuses of power. Will you be supporting Trump when he begins pushing modern day sedition laws?
Aug. 8, 9:36 pm

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