October 17, 2018

N.Y. Man Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Neighbor’s House

A New York man has been sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation for painting anti-Semitic graffiti on his neighbor’s house.

The man, James Rizzo, Jr., was initially arrested in October 2017 when surveillance footage showed him painting a swastika and the word “Kyke” [sic] in black paint on his Staten Island neighbor’s white garage door. Rizzo admitted to the crime, telling police, “I knew my neighbors were Jewish because of the way they spoke.”

However, his neighbors were not Jewish.

The defense had argued that he suffered from mental health issues; the ensuing psychiatric evaluation concluded that Rizzo was unfit to stand trial. After receiving treatment, Rizzo was found capable to stand trial in May. He eventually plead guilty to third-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime in June.

One of the victims, 17-year-old Halle Calabrese, told CBS New York at the time of the vandalism, “It’s hard and very upsetting to know that someone could have that much hate for someone of a certain religion or a certain race.”

Once Rizzo was arrested, police officers and a cleanup team sent by the local city council went to the Calabrese house to expunge the anti-Semitic graffiti.

Rizzo had previously been arrested in 1998 for burglary.