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Police investigate racist graffiti referencing Donald Trump

Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun says on Monday, Dec.

Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun says on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, that Nassau County police are investigating racist graffiti referencing President-elect Donald Trump in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau police are investigating racist graffiti referencing President-elect Donald Trump that was spray-painted on sidewalks in Mineola as bias incidents, police said Monday.

The graffiti, spray-painted last week on Washington Avenue in Mineola, says “Make America White Again,” police said — a reference to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The graffiti also included a racist obscenity referencing black people, a pair of swastikas spray-painted in red and mentioned “Arabs,” police said.

Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said the graffiti, which also was spray-painted on a sidewalk around the corner on Elm Place, was reported to police Wednesday about 6:30 a.m. No arrests have been made.

“This behavior is that of a misguided individual,” said LeBrun, adding the two incidents, which he referred to as “reprehensible,” appear connected because of the similar paint color and swastikas. “It’s not acceptable to the residents and the police of Nassau County.”

Residents said the graffiti was quickly removed Wednesday by village officials.

There has been no uptick in bias crimes in Nassau since the election, LeBrun said, though New York City has reported an increase. Nassau has investigated 48 bias incidents this year, 33 of which involved graffiti, department statistics provided by LeBrun show. In all of 2015, the department investigated 62 bias crimes.

Ronnie Geoffrion, who lives on Washington Avenue, said he was shocked by the racist display directed at his neighbors, a couple with two children who he called “good people.”

“It’s a shame,” said Geoffrion, 82, a Korean War veteran. “There’s a lot of discrimination in this country.”

Geoffrion, who said he voted for Trump, said he didn’t blame the president-elect for the racist rhetoric.

“That’s discriminatory saying, ‘make America white again.’ Everybody got to live. No matter the color. There’s good and bad in every race. I don’t blame . . . [Trump] alone. This has been perking a long time. . . . It’s just that it sparked out now.”

In a statement, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) called the person responsible for the graffiti “a coward.”

“You are not clever, you are not tough,” Rice said. “If you have something you want to say, then come forward, turn yourself in to the police, and show your family, your friends, and your neighbors who you are.”

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement: “Hate crimes will not be tolerated in Nassau County and all messages of hate will be investigated and pursued by police.”

The department also noted Monday a series of threatening racial slurs were written with a black marker in Garden City Park in August and September: “kill whitey” was written Aug. 27 on a garage door; someone wrote “kill white” Sept. 19 on PVC fencing on Kate Drive and on Sept. 2 “kill whitey” and “die, honkey, die” were scrawled on the driver’s side door of a white Kia Sorrento on Fulton Avenue.

Asked about the five-day delay in notifying the public of the Mineola incidents, Lebrun said, “It was under investigation. We didn’t want to spur any type of copy cat attacks. We wanted to give the squad the appropriate time it needed to complete the investigation.”

Detectives said anyone with information about the graffiti could call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.

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