On August 17, police in New York captured a suspect accused of spreading hate and defacing property by painting racially charged graffiti images outside of a synagogue. According to police, the incident occurred in the Upper East Side, and the whole incident was captured on surveillance footage.
The suspect, 21-year-old Lenny De La Rosa, was seen pulling out a black magic marker outside of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Then, he wrote “Jesus Saintzzz” on a display screen.
This incident happened at around 7 P.M. on August 12th. Harlem police officers saw footage of the crime, and then an officer on duty later recognized the suspect while on patrol on Thursday. He immediately arrested the young man. Rosa has been charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Rosa has committed this type of act. Police said they also have evidence that suggests Rosa scrawled hateful messages at the Temple Shaaray Tefila on E. 79th Street. At this location, he reportedly wrote “Dead Riip”. In a different incident, he wrote “Dead Rip” on the side of an ambulance that was parked near the synagogue. In a third totally unrelated incident, he wrote “Dead BP” at Congregation Or Zarua near Lexington Avenue.
Finally, an officer on patrol witnessed Rosa in the act at 5:22 on August 17. Rosa was drawing a heart with a pulse line on a utility pole. The officer immediately recognized the suspect from the surveillance footage and took him into police custody.
Investigations into the graffiti revealed the multiple incidents and led authorities to suspect that hate may have motivated many of Rosa’s actions. As of now, the hate crime incidents are still being looked into. Additional charges may follow.
Coping With Hate Crime Charges
Under New York Law, criminal mischief is defined as the willful and intentional destruction of someone else’s property for no reason. Typically, criminal mischief is seen as juvenile crime, but that doesn’t mean that the penalties are light. You can get sentenced to up to a year in jail with the least severe criminal mischief charges (4th degree).
Criminal mischief in the 3rd, 2nd, or 1st degree, however, are all considered felony offenses. You could serve anywhere from four to 25 years in prison for this type of criminal offense.
What’s more, hate crimes are additional charges that are brought forth on top of existing charges. That means a criminal mischief and hate crime charge will lead to additional criminal penalties. New York law defines hate crimes as crimes in which the perpetrator intentionally selects a specific target based on the individual’s race, color, national origin, gender identity, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
The general rule is that hate crimes will get graded up one category higher than the original charge.
If you’re facing hate crime allegations, then it’s important for you to hire a solid legal team to help defend you against additional criminal penalties. Leave your contact information on our online form to receive a callback from one of our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.