NYC Councilman David G. Greenfield announced yesterday that his initial $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for a spate of recent hate crime vandalism at Washington Cemetery has grown to $10,000 thanks to several other generous public officials and private citizens who have followed Greenfield’s lead.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon in association with the BeProud Foundation, Councilman Greenfield spoke firmly in front of Washington Cemetery and was joined by Councilman Michael Nelson, Assembly Members Dov Hikind, William Colton and Helene Weinstein. “Hate crimes are not acceptable in any community, but are surely reprehensible when directed towards the deceased,” Greenfield said. “These vandals have violated the sanctity of the final resting place of over 160,000 Jewish New Yorkers and brought unthinkable anguish to thousands of families who will have to live with the knowledge that the final resting place of their loved ones was subject to such vile hate. This is New York City in the year 2010, not Europe before World War II, and these acts are unacceptable and we will continue to do everything in our collective power to ensure that these vandals are swiftly caught and severely punished.”
Sometime between the evening of Friday, December 17th and the morning of Sunday, December 19th vandals entered Washington Cemetery, on Bay Parkway near McDonald Avenue, and toppled hundreds of head stones, spraying graffiti, including anti-semitic graffiti, on many of them. The incident has since been deemed a hate crime by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, which said the vandalism had all the hallmarks of a bias crime, and was the second incident of mass vandalism at the Jewish cemetery in as many weeks.
“I offered my original one thousand dollar reward because the desecration of any cemetery is unacceptable. However, now that I have learned that this desecration was motivated by hatred, I am doubling my reward,” said Greenfield. “I am grateful to Councilman Mike Nelson, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and various leaders in the Russian and Jewish communities, including John Lisyanskiy, who have made generous contributions toward increasing the reward to the new $10,000 total.”
Greenfield is encouraging anyone who may have seen something to call the 66th Precinct of the NYPD at (718) 851 5611. “I hope that, as the reward money offered continues to grow, perhaps someone who has information will come forward. But, please, don’t just report this for the money, report this because it is the right thing to do,” Greenfield concluded.