October 20, 2019

Two Men Arrested for Swastika Graffiti on NY Masonic Lodge

Queensbury Freeway; Photo from Flickr.

Two people were reportedly arrested on Oct. 3 for allegedly spray-painting graffiti on a Masonic Lodge sign in Queensbury, N.Y., which included a swastika.

The Post Star reports the men have been identified as Anthony Dean, 20, and Gaven Wasson, 18. Police concluded that neither of the apprehended suspects had any anti-Semitic intent with their graffiti of the Masonic Historical Society sign. 

“They were just trying to be cute,” Lt. Steve Stockdale told the Post Star. “Neither one of them had any comprehension about what it meant.”

There was also graffiti on the Queensbury Masonic Lodge that read “Crip 58” and “58 Crip.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York and New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein told the Journal in a phone interview that the ADL is going to reach out to the police to discuss the matter.

“[They] didn’t look like very young guys, and they put the swastika on the sign for a Masonic temple, which also typically has Stars of David,” Bernstein said. “Someone who doesn’t understand [could] easily maybe think of that as a Jewish symbol and they’re putting a swastika on there. It’s hard for me to believe that they don’t understand what that swastika means.”

Masonic lodges are where the Freemasons meet, members of a secret fraternal organizatioin.

Bernstein added that it is “very infrequent” for a swastika to be used in a manner that isn’t anti-Semitic.

“It’s not just a New York City issue. It’s not just a Brooklyn issue. We’re seeing these kinds of things now taking place all over the state of New York,” Bernstein said. “We’re seeing more and more white supremacist flyering, we’re seeing now these kinds of hate symbols being drawn on buildings and it’s very, very disturbing.”

StandWithUs tweeted, “Blind hate is raising its head once again.”