NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Police Department says no evidence of vandalism has been found at a predominantly Jewish cemetery where more than 40 tombstones were toppled over.
The NYPD says after consultation with the management of the Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, it was determined the 42 tombstones came down as a result of a number of factors. Those include long-term neglect or lack of maintenance, as well as environmental factors such as soil erosion.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind tweeted a photo of the downed headstones at Washington Cemetery in Midwood on Saturday night.
The cemetery general manager said that the tombstones may have been placed that way by her staff, WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported.
“When you see dozens of tombstones, you can’t ignore it,” councilman David Greenfield said. “When you see a hole in the fence where there used to be barbed wire, you can’t ignore it.”
Hikind released a statement Sunday casting doubt on the NYPD investigation.
“More than 40 headstones were overturned. These stones were all in the same section where barbed-wire had been cut. Despite the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of graves stretching over many blocks, this was the only section where gravestones had been turned over. This area is less than 5% of the total cemetery grounds,” Hikind said.
“So strong winds hit this section and left the other ones alone? I find that hard to believe. Something is definitely not kosher.”
There has been a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and 122 bomb threats against Jewish organizations in three dozen states since early January.
The NYPD said anti-Semitic hate crimes are up 94 percent this year. Overall in New York City, hate crimes are up 55 percent this year.
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