Standing next to a Baldwin Park play structure that has been vandalized with hate graffiti, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Senator Todd Kaminsky responded to the defacing of children’s play equipment in the usually tranquil park. Santino indicated that the town had a “zero tolerance” policy for acts of hate. Further, the Supervisor noted that the town was working with the Nassau County Police Department and intends to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any persons who are found responsible for the vandalism. The officials are also calling on the public for help in identifying those responsible for the defacement. The two were joined by Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad.
“Acts of hate have no place in our society, and my administration won’t tolerate hate fueled graffiti or any other inappropriate activities at town facilities,” stated Santino. “Our government will work collaboratively with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice. What’s more, we will prosecute the vandals who defaced town property to the fullest extent of the law.”
The officials described some of the vandalism that was scrawled on the park’s playground equipment. The graffiti included swastikas, a hateful term used to refer to African-Americans, as well as other offensive defacement of the equipment. The graffiti appears to have been drawn with permanent marker, and the vandalism was reported to law enforcement authorities by town staff on Wednesday, October 4th.
The officials concurred that the graffiti found at Baldwin Park should be investigated as a hate crime under the state’s penal law since it appears to have been motivated by bias. What’s more, the graffiti clearly targets specific groups of people because of race and religious practice. Similar acts have been pursued as aggravated harassment in the first degree under the hate crimes statute.
Calling on the public for assistance, the officials asked anyone has any information relating to the vandalism to please call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-8477.
“My wife was horrified when she brought our son, Rafe, to Baldwin Park and they were confronted by swastikas and other racist, anti-Semitic, and hateful graffiti. The fact that intolerant bigots would expose our children to such hatred is despicable. We must show that our love for community is stronger than hate mongers’ attempts to install fear where we live and play. We must stand together for love and tolerance and I look forward to continue working with the Town of Hempstead to stamp out hate,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky.
“Our town is home to people who endured the horrors of Nazi death camps, as well as those who were the subject of oppressive civil rights abuses based on their race,” said Santino. “This type of graffiti has no place in a free democratic society. We will do everything within our power to put an end to hate crimes in our communities.”