Synagogue vandalism suspect arrested, previously worked on anti-hate initiatives for the city

Late Friday night, police arrested the suspect seen in a photo they had released earlier in the day. He was still wearing the same clothes as the ones seen in the video from which this image was pulled:

From the NY Daily News:

Cops committed James Polite, 26 of Bedford-Stuyvesant to the psychiatric ward at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn. He is charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and making graffiti, cops said.

The suspect was busted in the same clothes he wore in surveillance video of his vandalism at the historic Union Temple in Prospect Heights. Polite is also suspected of setting a series of small trash fires in and around synagogues in Williamsburg, police sources said.

An employee at the historic synagogue, on Eastern Parkway, found “Hitler,” “Jews better be ready” and “Die Jew rats, we are here!” written in black marker in the hallways and stairwells of the first, third and fourth floors on Thursday night, police said.

Last year the NY Times wrote a profile of James Polite of Brooklyn who entered the foster system in kindergarten and eventually became an intern for a Democratic City Council member named Christine Quinn. As part of that internship he worked “on initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence.” The article says that as he was aging out the foster system, the NY Times Neediest Cases Fund placed him with Josh Waletzky and Jenny Levison. He also started college at Brandeis where, after some trouble with bipolar disorder, he was expected to graduate this May with “degrees in African-American studies and political science.”

A short time ago, Christine Quinn confirmed that the person arrested for the graffiti is the person who she knows:

The Daily Caller has also connected the James Polite mentioned in the NY Times piece to a Facebook page where the author makes reference to foster parents Josh Waletzky and Jenny Levinson. That page also contained some anti-US and anti-Semitic messages in the last couple of days:

His Facebook profile, reviewed by TheDCNF, shows that on Nov. 1, a day before the synagogue vandalism, he posted “A dream with eyes wide open. civil war is here. Nobody gotta die. Mexico, latin America, carribean vs. Jew n****r pigs. One person touch me this whole shit a smoking.”

At 3:46 a.m. on Nov. 1, Polite posted a cell-phone picture of a burning American flag, with the caption “Sometimes things take a lil heat to grow.” Police suspect him of setting fires at “seven shuls and yeshivas in Williamsburg” that same night, before the temple vandalism. Security footage captured that, too.

There are some strong indications of mental illness in this story, but there are also clear indications of a particular political bent running through most of Polite’s life. After nearly a week spent connecting the Pittsburgh shooter to President Trump and, more broadly, to the right in general, I wonder if we’ll see the same eagerness to connect this anti-Semitic vandal/arsonist to the left.

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