According to Manhattan Police, a targeted vandalism incident occurred on October 27th that will likely be deemed a hate crime once the culprits behind the crime are captured. Authorities are seeking out the public’s help in identifying the person responsible.
Police say the incident occurred at around 5 P.M. on Broadway near Prince St. in SoHo. A “Mitzvah Tank”, which is a portable truck that offers education, outreach, and more to the Jewish community, was parked in the heart of SoHo.
This Mitzvah Tank, according to the owner and community, serves as a Jewish educational and outreach center. It’s like a mini synagogue that also performs services like feeding the homeless.
Police say that an unidentified man then ran up to the truck, spray painted the word “Palestine”, and then fled the scene. Police were able to obtain images of the suspect, who they believe to be in his 20s, and they have released images to the public. If you have any information regarding this crime, then police encourage you to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
How Serious are Hate Crimes in New York?
At first glance, this type of offense seems like a simple case of vandalism. When you really consider the mindset of the perpetrator and the intent of the crime, however, it starts to build a more sinister picture.
In New York, it’s considered a hate crime when a person commits a traditional offense but targets a victim specifically because of their preconceived notions regarding the person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Similarly, it’s considered a hate crime when a person commits a traditional offense because of their preconceived bias.
The Israeli-Palestine conflict has been ongoing for decades, so the fact that “Palestine” was intentionally written on a Mitzvah Tank is no coincidence. It’s a clear, targeted incident.
With that in mind, there’s a great chance that the perpetrator, when captured, will be charged with a hate crime. Vandalism, in some situations, is considered “criminal mischief”, which isn’t that severe of a crime. Vandalism motivated by hate, however, is considered a violent felony offense. Felony convictions will result in not only time behind bars, significant fines, and more, but it will also cause you to lose specific rights once you’ve served your time. You’ll no longer be eligible to vote or carry firearms as a convicted felon.
Have You Been Accused of Committing a Crime in NY?
Have you recently been accused of committing a crime that was motivated by hate in New York? If so, then it’s in your best interests to hire an attorney to represent your case. A skilled lawyer could be the difference between getting charged with criminal mischief and a felony hate crime.
Are you ready to discuss your situation in more detail with an attorney? Schedule a consultation with our office now to learn more about how we can help you move forward after your arrest.