Summit Police Investigate Dec. 2012 Swastika Incident As Hate Crime
Summit Police will hold person(s) who defaced a Summit residents' property on Dec. 16 accountable; urges anyone with information on this hate crime to call 908-273-0051.
Today, Summit Police announced that the Swastika incident that occurred at a Summit residence in December of 2012 is being investigated as a hate crime and urges anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the police department directly.
On Dec. 16, a swastika, a universally recognized symbol of hate, was found on the side of a Passaic Avenue resident’s detached garage, according to Sgt. Peter Frank.
According to a Summit Police Department press release issued Wednesday, “it is unknown whether this incident is a random act or a targeted act. But either way, [Summit Police] will hold accountable the person or persons that defaced the resident’s property with such a symbol of hate.”
On Dec. 18, Sgt. Frank told Patch that the swastika, measuring about 1 ½ feet by 1 ½ feet, was drawn in thin black lines on the rear of the detached garage, facing the resident’s property, meaning the person who drew the swastika was on the resident’s actual property. He said the couple living there has young children and the family is part Jewish, part Christian.
“It is sad that some people still do not understand or maybe even care what a hurtful and despicable act this is and that there is no place for such hate or bigotry in the City of Summit,” Summit Police Chief Robert Weck said in the press release issued Jan. 9. “Our department stands with the victims of this act and will continue our efforts to identify the individual(s) who perpetrated this or any acts of hatred within our community.”
In the same statement, Mayor Ellen Dickson said, “This incident is an aberration in Summit and one that, as a community, we will never tolerate.”
While the family who resides at this residence wished to remain anonymous, Rev. Fletcher Harper, a member of the family, served as their spokesperson and spoke with Patch in December of 2012.
“It’s a combination of both heartbreaking and absolutely appalling. Someone put up a swastika on a wall less than 10 feet away from where their children’s swing set is. It’s just absolutely horrific and so unbelievable as to defy imagination,” Harper told Patch in a Dec. 21 article. “They are very grateful for the way in which the police in Summit have been really, really responsive, and have followed up very quickly and very aggressively. They are very grateful for that. Otherwise, it’s an absolutely awful and appalling situation.”
Harper said the family consists of a husband, a wife, and two children under the age of 10.
“One of the adults is Jewish and the other is Christian,” Harper said in the December 2012 article. “[The swastika] is one of the most total symbols of hatred with a very specific ethnic dimension to it that is just undeniable. To have it happen in the year 2012 in a supposedly educated part of the country and of the state, it just boggles the mind. It’s hard to fathom.”
The symbol was drawn less than 10 feet away from a swing set in the residents’ backyard and Harper said it would have been impossible for the person who drew the swastika to not see the swing set.
Again, Summit Police are now investigating this as a hate crime and urge anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Summit Police at 908-273-0051.