Arrested UWS Teen Admits Painting Swastikas in Riverside Park Train Car, Police Say

By Joy Bergmann

On Tuesday evening, NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force arrested a local 17-year-old boy for six “potential bias” incidents on the Upper West Side, including the November painting of dozens of swastikas inside Riverside Park’s antique locomotive at 62nd Street, according to Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin of the 20th Precinct.

“He admitted to everything,” Malin said. “He and his parents cooperated fully.”

The teen is expected to be charged with criminal mischief and aggravated harassment. He has no prior arrests and he has no apparent affiliation with any larger hate groups, Malin said.

“It was an attention-seeking thing,” said Malin. “He’s a troubled kid who needs counseling.”

Task Force detectives tracked the suspect through video footage leading back to the UWS doorman building where he lives with his parents, said Malin, calling it a “great investigation.”

NEWS | 55 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      Thank you NYPD for your great work in tracking down who did this. “Troubled kid” my ass.

      • BetterJewThanYou says:

        If he is not troubled, as though anyone in their right mind would do this, what do you suggest be the consequence for him?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          shocker, another bleeding heart liberal astonished query. to answer your question: JAIL. same goes for any hate graffiti, the n-word, etc.

          • FromoneJewtoAnotherBeABetterJew says:

            Look at this typical angry conservative, remember to take your blood pressuure medication, gramps!

            Troubled youth often do go to jail, don’t let your rage blind you to that.

            Sheesh!

            • UWSHebrew says:

              gramps? I’m a Gen X’er. your obsession with me a la your constantly changing screen name indicates your SJW safe space generation, which I am thrilled to not be a part of.

            • John Randolph says:

              TBH I’m pleasantly surprised to learn UWSHebrew is against the N-word

            • EricaC says:

              John Randolph, I wouldn’t assume that. I think you can only conclude that he thinks he will box in the liberals by saying that swastikas should get the same treatment.

      • EricaC says:

        Wait – aren’t you the ones that said that all the swastikas coming after the election were just the work of troubled individuals – the mentally ill and people seeking to provoke?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Oh, I speak for all Trump supporters, even those who say stupid things? Even those that are rabid white nationalists? I did not that I was granted this authority, thanks EricaC!

          • EricaC says:

            No, I meant you personally. I remember your comments when people were reporting additional hate crimes after the election, and you dismissed it, saying that everything (including the swastikas) was acts of people trying to make the president look bad or just troubled people. (Sorry about the typo – I meant “one”, not “ones”.)

            • UWSHebrew says:

              You have “my comments” confused with someone elses. Regardless, the fact that this kid is not being punished at all is a reflection of how anti-semitic acts are sometimes not taken seriously, and Jews like you are fine with it because of whatever insecurities you have. Pathetic.

    2. Sherman says:

      I hate sounding like a liberal but when poor kids commit a crime to they usually go to jail.

      When rich kids commit a crime they get “counseling”.

      (And based on the “doorman” building he lives in I assume this kid is from at least a middle class family).

      Nobody yet knows all the facts but if he did commit this crime I don’t have much sympathy for him, even if he’s “troubled”.

      Anyway, good work NYPD!

    3. kaylord says:

      “It was an attention-seeking thing,” said Malin. “He’s a troubled kid who needs counseling.”

      I can’t help but think if he didn’t live in an UWS doorman building, he’d need more than counseling.

    4. SHG says:

      I am disgusted by this but I hope this kid gets the help he needs.

    5. Yvette C. says:

      “Troubled”. “Counseling”. Please. If that kid was anything but a privileged little brat from a “cooperative” family, his ass would be grass. Gosh, did someone take away his devices for a day and he had to find a way to act out in retaliation? Send him my way. I’ll take him to a neighborhood where the locals will be happy to give him “counseling”.

    6. jezbel says:

      Troubled teens come in all sizes, shapes and colors. It’s a matter of what the parents plan of action is that will make a difference between if that teen survives as a decent human being or turns to a life of troubling incidents. Adolescents are generally guilty of having crazy mixed-up feelings. We should be thankful this kid was attention seeking in a way that puts no one else’s lives at risk. There are teens whose parents don’t care, don’t have time for them or don’t understand the emotional upset they’re going through. Let’s hope he gets the help he needs.

    7. D.I. Malin says:

      The crime that was committed here caused us much concern, and we will not minimalize it. The swastika is a symbol of hate that causes angst and disgust when it is graffitied in public. We worked with the Parks Department and devoted considerable resources when addressing these incidents.

      However, be assured that the defendant in this case is not being treated with anymore lenience than he would have been in any other part of any other borough when you consider he is a first time teenage offender of a non-violent crime who cooperated fully with the police and made a full confession. Ultimately, the youth’s sentence will involve more than counseling alone, but in our humble opinion, it is most critical that he receive mental health treatment.

      • Rossi says:

        How about along with this young man’s counseling, he and his parents are given an education on the meaning of the swastiak and the Holocaust?

        • Lin says:

          Parents from any background are not necessarily the cause of their childrens’ behavior or mental problems. We do not have any info re this family. I have worked with troubled children and their families. Please make no judgements until more info is provided—-which in this case will probably will not and cannot happen.

      • Carnival Canticle says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Inspector. And thanks for your service to our community.

      • MRutimann says:

        Thank you, D.I. Malin,
        That’s a fair and reasonable approach. Much respect to you.

      • Dave O. says:

        Isn’t it up to the D.A., not the police.

      • EL says:

        Thank you NYPD and particularly DI Malin for your thoughtful and thorough comment here

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        many props to DI Malin, who always shows professionalism and common sense.

    8. Rachel says:

      “counseling” is such a generic word – specifically, I think part of the consequences should be to meet with some Holocaust victims and their families, as well as other people who represent groups victimized by the Third Reich. We sit, we share stories, we listen with the intent to just listen and not respond, and we learn from one another. This has worked for people from every background.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        I know you and others are well-meaning with your “Holocaust education” suggestion, but I’m going to let you on in an a little secret: teens who spray swastikas do it BECAUSE they know it is a hate-filled symbol that is associated with murdering Jews. For them it’s fun, it’s a way to feel powerful. These are not five year olds, this is a 17 year old educated in a NYC school system, be in public or private, and he knew what he was doing. The only thing that might work is PUNISHMENT. Jail. Pick up litter on the highway. Wash dishes in a soup kitchen. NOT TALKING TO SOMEONE OR GOING TO A MUSEUM. That makes his “dozens of swastikas” that he graffiti-ed A JOKE.

        • EricaC says:

          Out of curiosity, do you have kids?

          You’re right that most know that what they are doing is hateful; they are often short on concepts of permanence and empathy. Empathy is a learned trait, not unborn. As this board sometimes demonstrates, a lot of people reach adulthood without developing it. When teenagers are involved, there is still hope of intellectual and cognitive development. So it makes sense for the punishment to be educational and therapeutic. They may still make it to decency. (I’m assuming that you’d agree that the state can impose therapy and education only when someone yields their rights by, for example, committing a crime.) If we go straight to non-therapeutic punishments, we wind up with more people who wind up as public charges or worse.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            I’ll pass on your fantasy “empathy is a learned trait” therapist babble. Some kids have a mean streak, that grow into teens with a mean streak, and so on. Hitler loved his dog and was a vegetarian. I wonder, if this kid (who is likely white), and he spray-painted the n-word dozens of times, would you still think that he deserved no punishment at all, and just some “counseling”? How about anti-gay slurs? Will you excuse everything that is anti-Jewish because you are Jewish, so it gets a pass? Welcome to the Upper West Side!

            • EricaC says:

              It isn’t actually a fantasy; it’s a pretty well-known fact. People are not born with empathy (survey the psychology literature, I’m not making this up).

              I do think he deserves punishment (as I believe I said). I simply believe the punishment should be designed to support his development into a full-fledged human being. Revenge seldom works.

              And no, I do not validate my views by citing my religion; I only mentioned I was Jewish to fend off your assertion that because you were Jewish, you had the corner on what was and was not anti-Jewish.

    9. Bonnie Rice says:

      Isn’t this considered a HATE crime?

    10. ZoomZ says:

      LOCK HIM UP!
      He needs attention?
      He’ll get all the attention he craved for in jail.

    11. Jane says:

      I had problems as an adolescent, too. But I did not commit antisocial acts (my parents would have been mortified). As someone who has worked extensively with teens, I have seen that minority kids get in trouble, but white kids get a pass – their records are expunged, they get counseling, and basically there are no consequences. And they learn this. I would like see this kid (in addition to the counseling) have to spend every weekend scrubbing away the swastikas he smeared all over NYC. Maybe then we will learn.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Jane, you’re 100% spot on. If this was a black kid from public housing, he would have not gotten away with “counseling”. The leniency shown to this 17 year old IS SICKENING.

    12. David says:

      He needs counseling? What about the parents? Family counseling please.

    13. Glitter says:

      Definitely just sounds like a lonely teen trying to get attention. I don’t think we need to add to the over population of jails for foul spray paint. I’m sure his parents are livid and will give him a well deserved punishment. If that were my kid I would be so embarrassed!!!

    14. David says:

      D.I. Malin does not have a degree as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

      And he certainly does not have a degree in statistics, given that last time I was at the community council meeting (December) he bragged how the overall crime rate dropped by 2% – while the felony rate increased by 25%. Why is that…and never an indication of arrest rate, how cases are closed. Just the crime rate…which is low due to low unemployment.

    15. Scooter says:

      Thank you Inspector. Your approach seems reasonable and well thought out unlike some of the commentators here who want to see a 17 yr old thrown into Rikers and basically have his life ruined for a teenage non violent bad decision. That should never happen to anyone regardless of ethnicity or financial status.
      Shame on the commentators.

    16. Sarah says:

      I’m irritated by the apparent disparate treatment of this kid, too (would a black kid who tagged the train with some other tag get “counseling”?)–but note that the family is cooperating, so at least they are having him take consequences, unlike some parents whose kids have been associated with hateful behavior in recent weeks.

    17. Robert Craig says:

      Putting the kid in stocks and flogging him in the public square is a poor response to contrition. Pin open his eyelids and make him watch Sean Hannity nonstop…perhaps that will show him where these repulsive antisocial feelings come from, and how to avoid this darkness in the future. Then have him help city workers remove the graffiti so he can learn how hard it is.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        it’s not “antisocial”, it’s anti-semitic. Sean Hannity is the most friendly person to the Jewish community in the history of news television. If you want to look at where this person likely got his views from, try the DNC, BDS supporters, Farrakhan, etc.

      • Sherman says:

        Better yet, instead of listening to Hannity he can listen to some of the anti-Semitic – er, excuse me, anti-Israel – rants of some of the new Democratic Congress inductees.

        • Jen says:

          Let’s not confuse anti-Israel and anti-Semite views. This is very different. Do not play anti-Semite cars when it is not applicable. You apparently don’t like when race card is played. Same here.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            Jen, I am not going to let your casual statement pass without a response. Israel is the one, the only, homeland on the planet for Jewish people. You may disagree with certain policies of the Israeli government, but to declare yourself as “anti-Israel”, does indeed mean you are anti-semitic. To give you an example, I would never say I am anti-Iran. I have nothing against the Iranian people who by and large, are quite intelligent and western-minded in their thinking. However, the Iranian regime is horrific, and I am against many of their policies, which of course includes being the largest world exporter of terrorism.

          • Sherman says:

            Hi Jen

            If something looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck chances are it’s a duck.

            I believe you’ve shown WSR your true feelings about Jews and this kid’s act of vandalism.

            Sherm

      • Harold says:

        Or —–
        Have him watch MSNBC for one night and get the idea that it is ALL Trump’s fault and it has NOTHING to do with him or his parents.
        Yeah—–really!

    18. Watsso says:

      A troubled kid craving attention my foot! He is, I’m sure, a bigoted anti Semite. A slap on the wrist won’t do … this is a hate crime and should be treated as such!