Brooklyn Police apprehended 26-year-old James Polite on November 2nd after he reportedly vandalized a synagogue with disturbing messages prior to a scheduled event.
Police were alerted about the presence of anti-Semitic messages, so they visited the synagogue to investigate the situation. In an abundance of caution, the scheduled political event called “Get out the Vote” was cancelled. Police scanned the Union Temple and found several offensive messages written in black marker. Some of the threats under the stairwell simply stated “Hitler” and “Kill all Jews.” The messages were scattered all over the building.
Police later identified the suspect as Polite, who is also under investigation for reportedly starting several fires in Williamsburg. One of the fires that was allegedly started by Polite was at a Jewish banquet hall. After the string of incidents, investigators decided it was best to transport the suspect to the Woodhall Hospital for psychiatric observation. He is being charged with four counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime.
One individual familiar with the suspect spoke to news media outlets. Christine Quinn, who was also the former Speaker of the NYC Council, explained how Polite previously grew up in and out of the state’s foster care system. As he grew older, he was in and out of the mental health system and was often homeless. Quinn believes that social service agencies have done everything they can to help the suspect over the years. She posted onto social media confirming the incident and said, “the actions he is accused of break my heart…his actions are inexcusable.”