GENEVA — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist local police in the investigation of spray-painted swastikas recently found in Geneva.
“I am appalled by the swastikas and other vulgar, racist symbols of hate that have been found scrawled on buildings around Geneva, New York, including on a church,” Cuomo said in a press release sent to media outlets Tuesday. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of hate and intolerance. I have directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance to the local authorities in the investigation of these hideous acts and hold those accountable to the full extent of the law.”
Geneva police are looking into two incidents. The first was reported June 6 and involved a swastika and the words “white power” spray-painted on an Elm Street building.
Last week, police found what appeared to be two swastikas spray-painted on the Mt. Calvary Church on Milton Street. Someone apparently tried to clean them up.
Police Chief Mike Passalacqua said there are apparently no witnesses to either case of vandalism, and there is no video surveillance of either area. The police are asking for tips from the public, but as of Tuesday afternoon Passalacqua said no tips have been reported.
Passalacqua said he talked briefly Monday to a state police investigator out of Rochester who is part of the task force, and plans on reaching out to the task force Wednesday after the governor’s directive.
“We were just asked yesterday if there was anything they can do. I don’t even know what they can offer at this point,” Passalacqua said. “It remains to be seen if they can do anything we aren’t doing already.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Passalacqua at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 828-6777, Det. Matt Colton at email@example.com or (315) 828-6779, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can remain confidential.
“Symbols and slogans such as the ones seen around Geneva are meant to intimidate and divide, but our response is crystal clear — there is no place for hate in our state, and we will always stand together against discrimination,” Cuomo said in the press release.