An 18-year-old and three juveniles were charged with felony hate crimes over numerous incidents of vandalism against a Jewish center and an Islamic center in Pensacola, Florida.
Pensacola police said they arrested Kessler Ferry and three others aged 17, 16, and 15 years old for the acts of vandalism. Ferry was charged with felony criminal mischief with a hate crime enhancement while the juveniles were charged with numerous counts.
In one incident, someone threw two bricks through the windows of Temple Beth El, the oldest Jewish house of worship in Florida. The bricks bore anti-Semitic messages.
Two rabbis were preparing dinner at the temple when the bricks were thrown through a kitchen window, narrowly missing one rabbi.
One woman’s home on East Romana Street was vandalized with swastikas and other hateful messages.
“I wanted to show this vandal, that we don’t tolerate that and this is a beautiful city that we are going to keep beautiful. So I will keep fighting back,” said Holly Benson.
Another incident of vandalism was reported at the Al-Islam Da’wah Center. Other vandalism was reported at the old Amtrak train station at a business and a highway off-ramp.
Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves released a statement about the arrests.
“We will not tolerate hate crimes in the City of Pensacola,” wrote Reeves. “I greatly appreciate our PPD’s superb investigative work in recent days that clearly delivers an important message: if you conduct cowardly acts of hate in this city in an attempt to hurt or intimidate, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
Police said that more arrests are possible as their investigation continues.
Rabbi Mendel Danow said that they would use the bricks with the hate-filled messages as cornerstones for a new building as a way to further thwart the intension of the vandals.
“Let’s use the brick as a cornerstone of the new building,” Danow said. “It’s the ultimate transformation of using something that was intended for hate and division into something which will expand Jewish life in Pensacola”.
Here’s a local news report about the arrests:
4 arrests made in Pensacola anti-Semitic vandalism caseswww.youtube.com
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