Swastikas in park, anti-semitic flier found in NJ communities
A Monmouth County park was defaced with several swastikas over the weekend, days after an anti-Semitic flier was found at a municipal building in a Somerset County community.
Long Branch police responded on Saturday evening around 7:30 p.m. to a report of vandalism at West End Park. Detectives found six swastikas drawn in what seemed to be permanent marker, three on a vinyl fence and three on park equipment, Police Capt. Frank Rizzuto said Monday.
The scene was processed and the Long Branch Department of Public Works removed all traces of the vandalism.
The park is located across from Chabad of the Shore. Police Chief Jason Roebuck previously said he had "reached out to our friends at the Chabad, who worship nearby to the affected area, to assure them that we are taking all the appropriate and necessary steps in this investigation."
"This antisemitism and racial prejudice have no place in our society or in the City of Long Branch. We will not stand for this," Long Branch Mayor John Pallone said in a written statement.
The anti-Semitic graffiti was found days after a handout was found taped to the front door of the Hillsborough municipal building last Monday, according to Deputy Mayor Doug Tomson.
In a post on his Facebook page, Tomson called the flier “disgusting."
"I think we are stronger when we show we all reject hate speech regardless of what group it is aimed at. That’s how I choose to live and I hope you all do the same," Tomson said.
Similar anti-Semitic fliers and stickers, all mentioning the same white supremacist group, were found last summer in several Somerset County communities, including Somerville, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Basking Ridge and Bernardsville as reported by MyCentralJersey.com.
Alexander Rosemberg, Director of Community Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey
said while such incidents are separate, they are combined in the public eye to create an environment of fear among concerned community members, regardless of religious affiliation.
Communities should respond by calling authorities to handle evidence representing such disparaging comments regardless of political spectrum, which helps send the message that "hate of any kind will not be tolerated," Rosemberg said.
The Monmouth County Prosecutors Office's was notified of the Long Branch vandalism, police said, while patrol checks in the area were increased.
Police also said "there is nothing to indicate that this is anything more than a random act of vandalism, but we encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately."
Identity Evropa is a school campus-based organization known for "intellectualizing white supremacist ideology," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Center said back in March, the group's founder also launched a new organization called the American Identity Movement (AIM).
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