Nassau Community College has been hit with a recent spate of hate graffiti, but police suspect the scrawled swastikas are the work of a single person and don’t reflect a spike in bias crimes.
After three previous discoveries, four more swastikas were discovered Wednesday night on the Garden City campus.
“The individual who did that is absolutely misguided. It’s reprehensible,” Nassau County police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said Friday at a news conference in Mineola.
Bias crimes are down countywide in 2016 compared with 2015, when 62 incidents were reported — 35 involving graffiti, LeBrun said. So far this year, there have been 49 bias incidents, 33 of them graffiti.
LeBrun promised that the person responsible for the NCC graffiti will “be prosecuted to the fullest.”
Police are investigating the latest graffiti at the school, discovered by a security guard.
Three swastikas were drawn on a wall, and a fourth on a staircase handrail — all in the B Cluster Building. They were about 8 inches long and drawn in black ink, police said.
According to police, three other incidents occurred in October:
- On Oct. 15, three green swastikas were scrawled in a second-floor men’s bathroom in the E Cluster Building.
- On Oct. 28, two swastikas and an anti-Semitic comment were found on a men’s bathroom wall in the Cluster D building.
- The next day, a security guard found multiple swastikas drawn on walls and urinals in men’s bathrooms on the first and second floors of the E Building. Police said the swastikas were randomly placed and drawn in blue ink.
College officials have vowed to work with police to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the hate messages.
“The discovery of swastikas on our large, open campus is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said college president W. Hubert Keen in a statement.
Garden City civil rights attorney James Vagnini cast doubt on the bias crime statistics, noting that many incidents are not reported.
“There’s countless unreported incidents, and that’s because of fear. There is a true fear of what is going to happen,” he said Friday.
LeBrun stood by the Nassau statistics and said there is no evidence of a surge in hate crimes since Republican Donald Trump was elected president.
“While we may have had a couple of incidents after the election, we don’t see a tremendous spike,” he said.
NCC student Krystel Solis, 25, of Floral Park, who takes law classes at night, said the hate messages are troubling.
“It’s pretty scary to think that there are people just running around the school with this type of mentality,” she said.