(New York) A man accused of stabbing five people in a rabbi’s house on Saturday during a Jewish holiday was charged Monday by the federal state with hate crimes, prosecutors revealing his sympathy for the Nazism and Adolf Hitler.
Posted on December 30, 2019 at 11:34 am
Updated at 17:27
According to court documents, Grafton Thomas, 37, had expressed his anti-Semitic views in personal writings, where he referred to “Nazi culture” and drew swastikas.
He also reportedly searched the Internet for the phrase “Why Hitler Hated Jews” and the address of “Zionist temples”.
For federal authorities, hate crimes represent a distinct category of criminal offenses, where victims have in common that they have been targeted because of their membership, real or perceived, to a racial group or religion, or because of their membership, because of their gender identity or disability.
The indictments come as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio denounced a “crisis” and “a growing problem of anti-Semitism” in the United States.
“A hateful environment has spread across the country,” he lamented Monday, detailing a series of measures to protect the large Jewish community in New York after the assault on Saturday night during the party Jewish Hanukkah in Monsey, some 50 kilometers north of the city.
“We believe this is a crisis. There really is a growing problem of anti-Semitism throughout this country. It takes an increasingly violent form ”, he added on public radio NPR.
“The forces of hate have been unleashed and greater latitude has been given to hate speech. And that has in part to do with the reality of Washington “, where Republican President Donald Trump lives and where Congress sits,” and in part with social networks, “said the Democratic mayor.
Indicted, in particular, of attempted homicide, Grafton Thomas pleaded not guilty on Sunday.
He is accused of having entered the home of a rabbi on Saturday evening armed, according to a witness, with a “large knife, like a machete or a saber” and then of having struck several people.
Five people were injured and hospitalized. The authorities did not specify their state of health, but local media reported one person seriously affected.
Donald Trump called on Sunday to “eradicate” the “scourge of anti-Semitism”. This attack comes against the backdrop of a worrying rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States.
Bill de Blasio also announced an intensification of police patrols and the creation of neighborhood committees responsible for preventing hate crimes.
New York will also target young people with a third measure focused on education, including a “program focused on anti-Semitism and the danger caused by hatred,” added Mr. de Blasio.