FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) — Police have arrested a man in connection with a string of antisemitic acts across Queens.
Officials say 34-year-old Antoine Blount drew antisemitic symbols in several locations across the borough.
Surveillance video showed BlouNt in multiple locations, scrawling symbols of hate in Forest Hills and Rego Park in the last week, outside apartment buildings like one on Queens Boulevard. Symbols had even been scrawled outside the 112th Precinct stationhouse and a synagogue.
These incidents comes as the Anti-Defamation League released a report on Thursday showing a 39% spike in antisemitic hate crimes in New York state in 2022, compared to 2021.
“It’s a new record for New York,” said Scott Richman, ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director. “We’ve never seen so many incidents in the 43 years that we’ve been keeping track of such data.”
Antisemitic incidents in New York, already on the rise in the last decade, were high in 2021 but went up to 580 in 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League, and assaults, specifically, rose to an alarming 72.
“If we look at the state where more assaults than any other state took place, we’re talking about New York again,” Richman said. “Most of those took place in New York City, specifically in Brooklyn.”
The ADL has been trying to answer the question of why these types of incidents are becoming more common.
“It’s longer-term factors like the rise in social media and the idea of all the hate and misinformation that’s on social media,” Richman said. “The megaphone that this gives to haters, the ability to find others that share their hateful views that was very hard before social media.”
Police say Blout was charged with aggravated harassment and criminal mischief as a hate crime.
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