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Man cuffed for anti-Semitic graffiti and fires was a former city intern with reported mental-health issues

Weak words: Cops posted armed guards outside the temple on Friday.
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The man police cuffed for allegedly scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti and lighting fires at synagogues in Prospect Heights and Williamsburg last week once worked as a former Council speaker’s intern, an opportunity the one-time city lawmaker said she gave the suspect to help him rise above a childhood spent in foster care.

But the suspect’s rough start in life shouldn’t excuse him from the terror he inflicted upon Brooklyn’s Jewish community, according to his one-time boss, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

“While he has experienced hardship that most people can’t ever imagine, his actions are inexcusable,” Quinn wrote in a Nov. 3 Twitter post. “The actions he is accused of break my heart and devastate all of us who tried to help him get on solid footing over the years.”

Police on Friday slapped the 26-year-old Bedford–Stuyvesant resident with hate-crime charges after arresting him for setting fires that day at Bedford Avenue’s Rachmistivka Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue between Ross and Rodney Streets, and a Hewes Street yeshiva near Kent Avenue, and for allegedly writing such foul statements as “Die Jew Rats” within Union Temple on Eastern Parkway near Underhill Avenue on Thursday, forcing “Broad City” actress and comedienne Ilana Glazer to cancel a planned event there.

And cops sent the suspect, whom police released a photo of hours before cuffing him, to the psych ward at Woodhull Hospital following his arrest, according to authorities.

Last year, the New York Times profiled the suspect in a story that described his childhood spent bouncing between foster homes, including no less than 10 during his high-school years alone, and recounted his desire to attend college after working for Quinn, whom he interned for in 2008, before going on to volunteer for her 2009 Council reelection campaign and 2013 mayoral bid.

The man eventually enrolled at Massachuse­tts’s Brandeis University, but his habit of smoking pot there resulted in a mandatory leave of absence, during which he administrators required he attend a rehab program, and after which they rejected his application to return to the college, according to the Times.

His anti-Semitic spree inside Union Temple led Glazer — whose Comedy Central television series has filmed in the borough, including inside a Clinton Hill food co-op — to cancel her planned interviews with journalist Amy Goodman, along with Democratic state Senate candidates Andrew Gounardes — who hopes to oust incumbent Republican state Sen. Marty Golden from his seat representing a swath of Southern Brooklyn in Tuesday’s general election — and Jim Gaughran, who is running to unseat a Long Island Republican.

The actress told a crowd waiting for the event to begin that it would not take place shortly before its 8 pm start time, after the anti-Semitic remarks that reportedly also included “Jew Better Be Ready” and “End it Now” were found scrawled in black marker inside a stairwell within the 1927 synagogue.

Following the event’s cancellation, Glazer told Goodman in a segment for her television program “Democracy Now!” — which included shots of the graffiti — that the sinister statements made her feel the temple wasn’t safe, and that she called the event off to keep the audience out of harm’s way.

“I can’t put these 200 people who came to listen in a safe space, I can’t put them in that danger,” she told Goodman in the interview.

Authorities stationed armed guards outside the Prospect Heights synagogue on Friday, but its leaders continued to host services as usual, according to its president, who thanked community members for supporting the congregation following the act of vandalism.

“We at Union Temple are disgusted and dismayed at the hateful graffiti that was scrawled on our walls last night, but we are also heartened by the tremendous outpouring of support from the community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike,” Beatrice Hanks said.

The foul graffiti was discovered two days after another creep drew swastikas and wrote a racist slur on several buildings in Brooklyn Heights, and less than a week after a gunman killed 11 and injured six when he opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue — in what was reportedly the largest-ever massacre of Jews on American soil.

And the day after the suspect defiled the temple, he allegedly lit the fires at the Jewish centers in Williamsburg, acts the neighborhood’s councilman said are becoming all to frequent.

“We condemn these anti-Semitic attacks, and I thank the NYPD and FDNY for their prompt response to these life-threatening incidents,” said Councilman Stephen Levin. “Tragically, it would seem these types of attacks are becoming all too common.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:18 am, November 6, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Lucy from Nervous says:
She’s right - I could never feel safe in a place where graffiti happened! Oh no! Clearly she double-booked and chose the higher paying event. I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out that she paid the guy to do graffiti .
Nov. 3, 6:50 am
Frank from Furter says:
Reportedly he was an intern for city council President Christine Quinn.
Nov. 3, 9:44 pm
Hillary from Prison says:
Democrats doing what Democrats do. Some things never change.
Nov. 3, 10:28 pm
Heather Leztkus from Williamsburg says:
Man Accused in Hate-Filled Messages in Brooklyn Synagogue Was Former City Council Speaker's Intern https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Man-Arrested-for-Hate-Graffiti-Synagogue-Former-City-Council-Speaker-Intern-499504611.html
Nov. 3, 10:32 pm
Huma Abedin bin Laden from Wiener schnitzel says:
Another lovely Democrat, just like the activist chick at FSU who threw coffee at college Republicans, she worked for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Gillum. These people are dangerous
Nov. 4, 1:55 am
Hugo from Williamsburg says:
This gem worked for Democrats and came from Haiti like 10 Years ago, this is just enough for me to slide down the Republican line on Election Day. MAGA
Nov. 4, 9:09 am
We are doomed from All the dumb people voting says:
It's frightening how easily trump's scare tactics work on the feeble minded. Even more frightening, is how many poor, uneducated, bigoted voters there are in America.
Nov. 4, 9:41 am
Hillary from Prison says:
There you have it, folks. The post above is what liberals really think of you. If you question their dogma, you are ignorant, easily scared, uneducated and racist. Remember that post clearly stating what they think of you when you enter the voting booth.
Nov. 4, 9:45 am
Hillary from Prison says:
Yes, you are doomed, commie. It’s over for your kind.
Nov. 4, 3:10 pm
Frank from Furter says:
I posted that the person was an intern. It doesn't mean that the Democrats are responsible for the action or do you want to take "credit" for the Florida Bomber, the Penn mass murdered of Jews or the Kentucky killer of innocent people of color? Do I think that Trump's rhetoric had anything to do with one or more of those? Damn right I do. It created an atmosphere where that was acceptable...or at least not pushed back again. McCain had the courage to push back against someone who impugned his opponent..not so this Donald..
Nov. 4, 3:59 pm
Bkmanhatman from Nubrucklyn says:
@not going from Prospect Heights you should be glad it’s not Bowers type person with an M-4.
Nov. 4, 4:19 pm
K. from ArKady says:
I know that politics makes for strange bedfellows, but this alliance between right wing jews and christian white supremicists is like something out of a bad Mel Brooks movie. Is Israel that important that you are willing to kickstart the Fourth Reich in America? Time to do that remembering thing I hear so much about, my right wing jewish friends. Stop supporting Donald Trump. We al know where this hate is coming from....
Nov. 4, 4:21 pm
Hillary from Prison says:
MAGA, start by putting the orange mongoloid in prison.
Nov. 4, 5:53 pm
Morgan Okabubu from Bed styu says:
MAGA. We are all going to vote for Jobs Jobs Jobs . We want jobs here in the good old USA not in communist China . As a black man all I care is putting bread on the table for the family and I will vote this time the Republican line
Nov. 4, 8:09 pm
Hillary from Prison says:
It’s so encouraging to see patriots like Morgan breaking free of the democrat lies and voting for freedom!
Nov. 4, 8:19 pm
Heidi Fleiss from Bunny ranch says:
Lol, the fool going on about white supremacy is either suffering from meth-induced psychosis or is some sort of opioid addict. Could also be straight up mental illness.
Nov. 4, 8:22 pm
What? says:
White supremacy ?? The man is black. I doubt he’s in the kkk or any white supremacist group.
Nov. 6, 4:39 am
Benny from Park Slope says:
To all the right-wing fools and fans of the racist, liar, con man, and traitor now defiling the White House: Liberals are the only real Americans left. The GOP is now a neo-fascist cabal of treasonous cowards, and the true enemies of the American people. Putin is your overlord. By the way -- you idiots control the House, the Senate, the White House, AND the Supreme Court, and you still can't get anything done to help the country. Why are you so angry all the time if you're 'winning"?
Nov. 6, 9:59 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That still doesn't excuse him from what he did by placing swastikas, which is seen as a hate crime especially by us Jews.
Nov. 6, 2:10 pm
Babs says:
So there was no security threat and the whole thing was a big over-reaction to a crazy who made some angry grafitti?
Nov. 7, 6:04 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Polite seems pretty mentally disturbed. As angry as I am about this, he deserves some compassion too. I'm sure the synagogue's leadership feels that too. There must be a whole trunk load of resentment and misdirected rage inside Polite. He had the kind of start in life no one deserves, but was also given remarkable opportunities to rise above them. I believe the last set of foster parents profiled in the NY Times article are Jewish. Brandeis University's roots are as a Jewish-sponsored secular college. A lot to unpack there.
Nov. 7, 9:44 am
K. from ArKady says:
Hey Babs, Yup. Even more remarkable, notice how all the right wing jews here are focusing entirely on the fact that the pathetic loser who scrawled some grafitti worked for a democrat. Whilst simultaneously, an armed white nationalist spouting Trump rhetoric killed 11 and injured 7. I must be crazy, of course. It's what we used to call Remembering. You've forgotten, of course. You always do.
Nov. 7, 11:42 am
Jess says:
K from ArKady - you’re really prejudiced against jews
Nov. 7, 12:59 pm
The Provocateur from Vinegar Hill says:
Great reporting. Now I'll go find a "newspaper" to tell me what this creep's name is. What - good job When - well done! Where - nailed it Why - we'll give you a pass How - you got game Who - Hello, McFly!?!?
Nov. 13, 6:22 pm

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