Ex-Cop Charged with Anti-Semitic Graffiti in New York

May 28, 2014  

Concern over anti-Semitism in New York continues to rise, amid phenomena like the cruel “knockout game” and the light punishment for a Nazi-supporting taxi driver. 

But a string of anti-Semitic graffiti in particular made headlines earlier this week, after the multiple incidents – dubbed by the media as a “hate spree” – were linked to a former NYPD cop. 

Michael Setiawan, 36, retired from the Brooklyn branch of the NYPD in 2007, according to the New York Daily News. Setiawan was a city officer until 2007, serving in Brooklyn’s 69th precinct in the Canarsie neighborhood, police said. 

He was also arraigned Friday on a 39-count indictment, charging him with the vile graffiti binge in Borough Park on May 3. 

“I just vandalized the cars…because I don’t like those people,” Setiawan said from his holding cell at the 68th Precinct stationhouse, according to a document made public Tuesday.

Asked why, he replied: “Because they’re cheap…When I was a deliveryman, they never gave me anything.”

Setiawan is charged with tagging at least 15 cars with pink paint, court papers show, as well as four buildings near the Bnos Zion synagogue and school run by the Bobov hasidic community. The tags included vulgar anti-Semitic slurs and swastikas. 

As a result, several of the charges include hate crimes – a serious indictment that could lead to a long sentence. 

But, as the daily notes, the nature of the sentencing could depend on Setiawan’s mental state; he was arraigned via video hookup from the psych ward at Bellevue Hospital – not in a courtroom – where he remains under “doctors’ care,” a source said.

Despite the development, Setiawan’s legal counsel has not asked the judge to change proceedings because of his psychological state, the source added. For now, he is being held on $75,000 bail; he is expected to face decades of prison time – four years for each hate phrase scrawled on a lonely car. 

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