The Seventh Squad is investigating a bias incident that occurred at Brady Park on Friday, Dec. 30 at 5 p.m. in Massapequa Park. According to detectives, Seventh Precinct Police responded to calls from an employee at Brady Park, located on Lake Shore Drive. The employee had discovered a swastika spray painted on a wall near the shuffle board court. A second swastika was later discovered on a picnic table bench. Both swastikas were spray painted in black.
Massapequa Park Village Mayor Jeffrey Pravato, in airing his disgust over the incident, surmised that kids could be behind the graffiti and that, regardless of age, the perpetrator is likely unaware of the impacts of his or her transgressions.
“It’s a horrific act that we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Pravato said. “Massapequa Park is a diverse community and we will not tolerate these violent crimes. What I’m hoping is, I don’t think the perpetrators realized the horror of what the Nazis did to the Jewish community. These kids—it looks like it might be kids—probably need to be educated.”
The incident is the latest in what has been a spree of graffiti-related bias incidents around Nassau County. Within the past two months, swastikas have been found in Mineola, Garden City and Levittown as well as at Nassau Community College. Following the Mineola incident in November, Nassau County Lieutenant Richard Lebrun revealed that there have been 48 bias incidents since January 2016, 33 of which involved graffiti. That number has since gone up. While many of the acts have involved swastikas, others have involved disparaging remarks against African Americans, people of Middle Eastern descent and Caucasians. Though some of the crimes have been similar in nature, police have been unable to determine whether the acts are connected in any way.
As to possible consequences for the perpetrator, Pravato has his own ideas. In addition to subjecting the perpetrator to the standards of the law, Pravato has an additional form of punishment which he hopes could pay dividends.
“I would want them to sit with a holocaust survivor,” he said. “I’d like [the survivor] to speak with them and let them know the horrors that the Nazis brought about the Jewish community. It might just be ignorance on their parts.”
Detectives have requested that anyone with information regarding these crimes contact the Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.