‘Heil Hitler’: Reports of Hate Crimes Have Long Island, Nation on Edge

Anonymous letter
Anonymous letter left with Muslim public school teacher in Georgia. (Courtesy: Facebook)

“Heil Hitler!”

That’s the virulent greeting an Asian-American woman walking with her 6-year-old child received last week as they trotted along a pedestrian crosswalk in Stony Book.

In another incident, a man driving his car in East Northport shouted “f@#king wetback”—a derogatory term for immigrants, but reserved mostly for Mexicans—at a Hispanic man, veering off the road and nearly hitting him.

“Get the f@#k out!” the man allegedly screamed. “Trump is president.”

These are just two of the more than 400 complaints made to the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) since the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump.

The president-elect had been accused during the campaign of making Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic comments. At the outset of his campaign he referred to Mexicans as “rapists” and “murderers,” proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, which he later changed to “extreme vetting,” a Muslim registry, and questioned the ability of a judge of Mexican heritage to oversee a case involving Trump University, which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the “textbook definition of a racist comment.”

SPLC, an anti-hate organization, provided the Press with the Long Island complaints—both of which SPLC has is trying to corroborate. However, the Press has confirmed a third reported incident that occurred the day before Election Day.

In that incident, a 17-year-old Manhasset High School student hurled the “N” word at a black student and allegedly threatened her with a photo of a gun, according to the complaint made to SPLC. The student was arrested three days later. A spokeswoman for the Nassau County District Attorney’s office declined to provide details of the altercations, but the charges—two counts of harassment, the first, based on “race/religion” and the second, “communicate a threat” via “phone/computer/mail”—match the description of the complaint. Manhasset School District Superintendent Charlie Cardillo has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Complaints of harassment and ethnically or racially motivated hate crimes across the country have put communities on edge, including in New York, where a swastika and the word “Trump” were spray-painted on a wall at SUNY Geneseo. Although only some of the incidents mention Trump or his surprise victory explicitly, the spate of verbal or physical attacks has evoked fears among minority groups that a segment of the population has been emboldened by Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

As of Thursday, SPLC has received 437 complaints nationwide regarding hate incidents.

The Anti-Defamation League is also monitoring hate crimes stemming from the election.

“Sadly, the contentious tone from the 2016 election has translated into a moment of ripeness for the haters to deface properties across the country with some of the most unsettling anti-Semitic and racist imagery,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a statement. “We must not let this troubling trend of hate define our society, which means that the onus is on our community leaders, religious clergy, elected officials and others to remain vigilant, report incidents when they surface, and make clear that this level of vitriol will not be tolerated.”

In Patchogue on Thursday, residents found fliers on parked cars from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, featuring a drawing of a hooded-Klan’s member, bookended by the words: “Our Race Is Our Nation.” A Suffolk police spokeswoman said the Hate Crimes Unit concluded there was nothing criminal about the fliers.

Long Island has a history of playing host to Nazi-sympathizers, most notably at Camp Siegfried in Yaphank during World War II, where thousands openly glorified Nazism and paraded down streets named after Hitler and the mass-murder’s sinister cohorts.

When Jewish blood drips from the knife,” kids dressed in Hitler youth garb would sing, then will the German people prosper.”

KKK fliers popping up on Long Island is not a new phenomenon. Similar leaflets appeared in Westhampton Beach in July, and prior to that, in Wantagh and Rockville Centre.

When pressed by 60 Minutes on Sunday during his first post-victory interview, Trump said he was “surprised” by the spate of hate incidents. In response, he told those attacking people to “Stop it.”

“Since Donald Trump won the election we’ve seen an alarming number of hate-based incidents occur throughout the nation, some of which are no doubt stemming from Trump’s hate-filled campaign,” Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said in a statement.

On Friday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department is investigating whether any of the recent incidents violate federal law.

“We will continue to enforce our nation’s hate crimes laws to the fullest extent possible,” Lynch said in a statement. “We will continue to uphold our conviction that all men and women deserve to lead lives of safety and dignity.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who has addressed hate crimes on multiple occasions, cited the Patchogue incident as he called upon local officials to speak out against alleged hate crimes.

“I call on all public officials, of all parties, and indeed, all people everywhere, to denounce and repudiate these expressions, and to pledge to punish to the full extent of the law anyone engaged in such acts,” Cuomo said in a statement. “To remain silent is to engage in a dangerous new permissiveness that threatens our American way.”

Just this week, the FBI released its hate crimes report for 2015, which showed a 67-percent increase in attacks on Muslims. Hate crimes across the board spiked 6 percent.

Following last week’s election, a Muslim high school teacher in Georgia said she received an anonymous letter in which the cruel author suggested she hang herself by her Hijab—a traditional Muslim head cover.

The ominous letter was signed “America!”

Featured photo: Anonymous letter left with Muslim public school teacher in Georgia. (Courtesy: Facebook)