Wednesday, June 10, 2009

$7,500 dollar reward offered for information on hate crimes.

AJC by Alexis Stevens

Days after swastikas were painted on three homes, the police chiefs in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody made one thing clear: they aren’t going to tolerate it.

“This is not just toilet-papering a house,” said Sandy Springs Chief Terry Sult. “We’re investigating this as a hate crime.”

Three incidences within a 24-hour period is extraordinary, according to Bill Nigut, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League. A rabbi of one of the families whose house was vandalized contacted Nigut after the Saturday night incidents.

The two police departments and the ADL have each offered $2,500 rewards, for a total of $7,500, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the vandalization.

Georgia is one of five states that doesn’t have laws against hate crimes, Nigut said. If and when those responsible are caught, they will face vandalism charges, but that’s not enough, he said. (Do we need a hate crime ordinance in Dunwoody for higher fines than just the $655.00 fine for vandalism? see top of page 20).

“When it comes to anti-Semitism and hatred like this, there’s no such thing as a fun prank,” Nigut said after a press conference Wednesday. “These families feel vulnerable and exposed.”

The painted swastikas are minor compared to Wednesday’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum involving an elderly man suspected of being a white supremacist.

“Obviously, there’s no connection,” Nigut said. “But emotionally, this is the sort of thing that leads many Jewish people to feel that we are the object of hatred.”


Steve Barton said...

In answer to your question, no.


When you say "vandalism," I think of a crime that can include destruction of property and I'm sure there is something in the Dunwoody code that handles that.

And if the graffiti is so extensive and the cost of clean-up/restoration is way beyond the proportions of $655 per person fines? I hope that the prosecutor could work something up with what is already on the books, or you should give him something to work with.

Adding a motivation component to this simple crime would complicate the workings of the wheels of justice more than is currently justified.

On a related note, I live next to the MJCCA (Zaban) and my own crime-watch consciousness has a large component of keeping an eye out for the benefit of that specific neighbor. Knowing that there are ignorant/evil haters out in the world is a necessary part of being a good neighbor.

happy said...

I agree with Steve.

Plus, I doubt there are many "I like you a whole lot" crimes... they all involve hate.