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Cuomo directs Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate swastikas at park

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday vowed to

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday vowed to have those responsible for swastikas painted in Nissequogue River State Park prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law." Credit: Todd Maisel

A night watchman found two swastikas painted on an abandoned building in Nissequogue River State Park in Kings Park Thursday, a parks spokesman said, leading Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to direct the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate.

State parks spokesman George Gorman said the swastikas were found around dusk Thursday and that one measured 4 feet by 4 feet, the other one smaller.

Cuomo, in a statement, said he was "sickened" by the discovery. "These disgusting anti-Semitic symbols are meant to instill fear and feed the cancer of hate that has become pervasive across this nation in recent years."

In ordering a hate crimes investigation, the governor said: "In New York we have absolutely zero tolerance for acts of intolerance, and we will continue to call them out whenever and wherever we see them." He vowed to have those responsible prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."

There was a similar discovery in February, when a jogger reported finding a swastika in the park along with a white supremacist slogan. It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested in that case.

The 521-acre park, located along the Nissequogue River off St. Johnland Road, is the site of the old Kings Park Psychiatric Center, and several buildings from that complex, now abandoned, still stand. 

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