By Timothy Bolger and Rashed Mian
Nassau County police are investigating as a hate crime the recent discovery of graffiti spray painted on a Mineola sidewalk that included swastikas, racial slurs and the statement “Make America White Again.”
The phrase is a play on Republican President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” The bias incident was reported at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday outside of a home on Washington Avenue near the corner of Elm Place two blocks from Mineola village hall.
“This behavior is that of a misguided individual, it is not acceptable to the residents and the police of Nassau County,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a Nassau police spokesman, told reporters Monday during a news conference at police headquarters.
Many blame Trump for emboldening racists nationwide with xenophobic, misogynistic and Islamophobic campaign rhetoric, although he has said that was not his intention.
Nassau had 48 bias incidents since January. Nassau police reported 32 hate crimes to the FBI last year.
Graffiti with the same phrase and Nazi symbolism as the Mineola case was found in the upstate New York village of Wellsville shortly after Trump was elected. New York State authorities recently announced a crackdown on hate crimes in response to a spike in reports of similar incidents since Election Day. The Mineola case came a day after local minority groups held the latest in a string of meetings to discuss how to respond to such incidents.
When asked about the apparent spike in hate crimes since the election, LeBrun said: “We’re always concerned; it doesn’t matter if it’s Election Day or prior, we’re always concerned about this type of derogatory statements or hate crime.”
In the Mineola case, the swastikas were in red paint and the message was in black paint. It also included racial epitaphs for African Americans and anti-Arab messages. Similar graffiti was also found on a sidewalk on Elm Place.
In unrelated cases, Suffolk County police are also investigating the discovery of swastika graffiti found on stop signs on Chicago Avenue in Islip on Saturday and more swastika graffiti on Devonshire Road in Hauppauge on Monday, Nov. 28.
In non-graffiti-related bias incidents reported on Long Island in the past month, someone yelled “Heil Hitler” at an Asian-American woman walking with her 6-year-old child in Stony Brook. 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.”
Detectives request that anyone with information regarding the Mineola case to call the Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.All callers will remain anonymous