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New Yorker jailed for drawing swastika, misspelled slur on home

James Rizzo, credited with time served, said he knew Staten Island family was Jewish by ‘the way they spoke’

New York police crew members removing a swastika from a garage in Staten Island. (NYPD 23rd Precinct via JTA)
New York police crew members removing a swastika from a garage in Staten Island. (NYPD 23rd Precinct via JTA)

A man who painted a swastika on a New York family’s home was sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation.

James Rizzo Jr., who was 37 at the time of his arrest in October, told police at the time that he knew the Staten Island family was Jewish “because of the way they spoke.” He misspelled a Jewish slur on the garage.

Rizzo, who served the jail time while awaiting trial, pleaded guilty last month in State Supreme court to third-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime, the Staten Island Advance reported.

He was seen on surveillance camera footage vandalizing the white door with black paint of a house located down the street from where he lived.

Anti-Semitic graffiti spray painted on a Jewish home in Staten Island, New York, October 17, 2017. (Screen Capture: CBS)

Debra Calabrese, who at the time of the incident had lived in the house for 14 years with her husband and is not Jewish, originally told the local media that she did not plan to paint over the graffiti because she wanted people to see it, despite being urged by police to cover it up once their investigation was completed.

Following Rizzo’s arrest, a clean-up team arrived at the home to power wash and repaint the garage door at the behest of local City Council members.

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