NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced new measures to combat anti-Semitism in New York City following a string of incidents targeting the Jewish community, including a Saturday night stabbing at a rabbi’s home in Rockland County that injured five people.
De Blasio announced there will be an increase of police presence and resources across Jewish communities in the city — this, in addition to the increase of NYPD personnelalready announced last week — to “give the sense of security they deserve.” Additional light towers will also be put up. De Blasio said 15 are up, and six more will installed.
Despite the increase in police presence, the mayor said the NYPD cannot do it alone; the community needs to help out. “If you see something, say something.”
In addition to increased police presence, de Blasio announced the city will be launching Neighborhood Safety Coalitions. The coalitions will identify and address issues that drive hate-based crimes and bring together people from across their communities.
The Department of Education will add a curriculum on hate crimes at middle and high schools citywide beginning in the 2020-21 school year. This includes workshops with community partners and leveraging existing social studies curricula and resources.
Starting January, the DOE will distribute resources to facilitate conversations in the classrooms and will focus on education students about preventing and addressing hate crimes.
Authorities responded to reports of a stabbing at the Monsey residence of Rabbi Rottenburg around 10 p.m.
More than 100 people were gathered in the home when a man walked in and pulled out a knife that one witness said looked “almost like a broomstick.”
While the identities of the victims are not known at this time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Sunday morning that the rabbi’s son was one of the victims and is recovering. Cuomo said another victim is still in “very serious…critical” condition, with wounds to the head.
The suspect identified as 38-year-old Grafton Thomas was taken into custody after midnight in Harlem, an NYPD spokesperson said.
Thomas was arraigned Sunday and pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary, according to officials.
The Saturday attacked marked the latest in a string of incidents that have targeted the Jewish community in New York.
Sen. Charles Schumer also released a statement after being briefed by the FBI, calling the incident in Monsey “pure evil.”
“This attack, and other anti-Semitic attacks that have occurred in recent days, demand a top-to-bottom federal investigation,” he said.
Schumer has since asked the FBI to investigate any possible links to all the recent attacks.
“We must not, and cannot, tolerate these senseless attacks, and we must get to the bottom of why they are occurring in order to prevent them in the first place. No American—and no New Yorker—should be subjected to the kind of terror and pain the people of Monsey and the New York Jewish community now bears.”