DA, religious leaders, officials take a stand against hate

Staten Island's District Attorney Michael McMahon and Chief Kenneth Corey, the borough commanding officer, hold a press conference on Staten Island to address hate crimes. 05.02.2019 Photo: Shimon Gifter

Staten Island      Staten Island’s District Attorney, religious leaders, political representatives, and officials took a stand against hate at a press conference Thursday in front of the Young Israel of Staten Island synagogue in Willowbrook.

The press conference came five days after the shooting at a Southern California synagogue that killed a woman and left an 8-year-old girl and two men wounded.

“There is no room for hate in New York City,” said Chief Kenneth Corey, the borough commanding officer. “If you commit a hate crime in Staten Island we will investigate. We will find you, we will arrest you. You will be prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows.”

The way the four Staten Island precincts approach to hate crimes effectively decreased hate crimes by 12.5% from 2017 to 2018, while New York City as a whole saw an 8% increase.

In 2019, the number of hate crimes keeps skyrocketing in the city. New data released on Thursday by the NYPD indicates a 67% increase in hate crimes just in the first four months of 2019.

“We are saying clearly with one voice: Not on Staten Island. We will not tolerate hate crimes of any type,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.

The message sent on Thursday was strong and clear as religious leaders from different religious affiliations stood together.

“This is the beautiful part of this country,” said Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield.

Mendy Mirocznik, president of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO), said standing united is what makes today different than 76 years ago, a reference to the Holocaust that killed six million Jews.

“Unlike 76 years ago, we are not going to tolerate it,” said Mirocznik.

Mirocznik said more and more people are reaching out to COJO sharing fear, concern and uncertainty.

Representatives from the mayor’s office, the JCC, the United Federation of Teachers and the city comptroller’s office also attended the press conference.

District Attorney McMahon concluded the press conference by thanking COJO CEO and Executive Vice-President Scott Maurer who also serves as the Co-Chair of the District Attorneys Hate Crimes Task Force for coordinating and helping to organize the press conference, McMahon stated, “COJO’s leadership, partnership and relationship that it has with the broader communities of Staten Island and its ability to communicate effectively with them is the key to winning the war on hate.  I thank Scott Maurer and Mendy Mirocznik for working with my office around the clock in helping to constantly improve the quality of life on Staten Island.”



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