Last Friday morning, hate filled graffiti including several swastikas and the phrase “Kill Jews” were inscribed in the ground at McLaughlin Playground in Riverdale. The incident was reported to the 50th Precinct and the investigation is now being overseen by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Although the graffiti was removed by the police later Friday afternoon, the Riverdale community is still in shock over the hate filled message. The local elected officials have come together to state that this vitriol will be not be tolerated, in Riverdale or anywhere else.
“Such acts of hatred have no place in our borough or anywhere in civilized society. This anti-Semitic graffiti is a sad reminder of the cruelty some individuals are capable of, and I am proud to join my colleagues today to condemn this act in one united voice. The people of The Bronx do not tolerate hatred of any kind, and I hope those responsible for this hate crime are brought to justice,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“The hateful message and swastikas found at McLaughlin Playground last week is the latest in a string of recent acts of Anti-Semitism that has been occurring in our city over the last few weeks,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “As a city known for its tolerance and acceptance of all faiths and backgrounds, incidents like these are unacceptable. We are confident that the NYPD will apprehend those responsible and show that crimes like these will never be tolerated.”
“I am appalled by the recent hate incident at McLaughlin Playground. Our community does not tolerate hate crimes of any kind and I am proud to stand with my colleagues in condemning this anti-Semitic graffiti. It is my hope that the NYPD catches the culprit who committed this heinous act,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“Hatred knows no boundaries, but targeting children and their parents is particularly reprehensible. Whoever defaced McLaughlin Playground did so with the intent to intimidate and harass the Jewish community. There is no place in our society for bigotry or discrimination, and hate crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.
Senator Jeff Klein said, “Our playgrounds are places for innocent children to play together in a safe and protected environment, not platforms for hate speech. The anti-Semitic inscription found at McLaughlin Playground flies in the face of the rich racial and ethnic diversity that makes our neighborhood so special and will not be tolerated in our community.”
“I am saddened and upset to learn that anti-Semitic graffiti was recently discovered in McLaughlin Playground. Hate speech has no place in our community or anywhere, and I am committed to working with fellow elected officials, city agencies, and members of the community to fight against intolerance of all forms. I hope that those who committed this crime are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and I appreciate the swift action by NYPD and the Parks Department to address this matter,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.
“This horrendous hate crime is most likely the act of an uneducated individual who has deep social issues which need to be addressed. I hope that the police locate the individual so that our community is not disturbed by any further similar acts, and I am proud to stand together with our elected officials in denouncing this terrible crime,” said Daniel Padernacht, chairperson of Bronx Community Board #8.