Man Arrested For Fires, Anti-Semitic Graffiti At NYC Jewish Institutions

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Police have arrested a man suspected of scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls of Brooklyn synagogue and setting fires outside of local Jewish institutions, the Associated Press reported Friday.

James Polite, 26, was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and making graffiti, according to the AP.

The AP reported that Polite was taken to a psychiatric ward for observation.

The graphic graffiti, which read “Kill all Jews” and “Jews better be ready,” was discovered in the stairwells of Prospect Heights’ Union Temple on Thursday. A scheduled get-out-the-vote event hosted by “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer was canceled as a result.

The AP reported that Polite was also charged with setting fires outside of a yeshiva and Jewish banquet hall in south Williamsburg, which is home to a large concentration of New York City’s Hasidic population.

“Following in the wake of the Union Temple hate incident, antisemitism strikes again, this time in Williamsburg,” City Councilman Stephen Levin wrote on Twitter Friday. ‘Early this morning, the NYPD’s 90th Precinct received reports of fires at seven locations in South Williamsburg, all of them Hasidic shuls or yeshivas.”

These disturbing incidents come as the country is still reeling from last Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which left 11 dead. It was the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history.

Polite is a gay black man who came up in the city’s foster care system before a chance encounter with former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn landed him an internship at City Hall. He was the subject of a 2017 New York Times profile.

This post has been updated.

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