CROWN HEIGHTS — The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is now looking into the graffiti of swastikas and anti-Semitic messages found scrawled on an alley wall this weekend as a possible hate crime, police said Monday morning.
The Task Force and the 71st Precinct are working to track down those responsible for the slurs found on a wall off Schenectady Avenue between Crown and Carroll streets, as well as a set of paper notes with similar hate speech found in the area, according to Det. Vincent Martinos of the precinct’s community affairs division.
Martinos said residents found small pieces of paper with swastikas drawn on them in black marker in the blocks around the graffiti. Sources said some of the papers also had graphic, anti-Semitic language, as well.
A source within the local Shomrim patrol said "quite a few" of the pieces of paper were found on Saturday. A photo of one of the papers sent by a resident shows a Post-it-sized piece of paper with a swastika and the words "Jew F---s" written on it. He said it was found on Crown Street between Troy and Schenectady avenues.
Police think the hate language on the wall appeared late Friday night or early Saturday morning, Martinos said. Though the graffiti coincided with the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, Martinos said officers don't think the graffiti was targeted to the event.
“We strongly do not believe it has anything to do with Lag B’Omer," Martinos said.
Volunteers from Shomrim covered up the graffiti on Sunday with black spray paint, according to a source. It is now illegible.
Residents noticed the tag Saturday, according to Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone of the Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters. He first saw it as he walked home from synagogue, returning in the evening to take photos.
“People, Jews and non-Jews alike, seemed pretty disgusted” when they saw it, he said in an email Saturday night, adding that the message is “truly a shame.”
Public records show the building on which the message appeared is owned by Congregation K’Hal Anash Lubaw. A man working at the shul had not heard of the incident and did not want to comment on it, referring questions to leaders of the organization, who did not immediately respond to inquiries.