Ellenville, NY – Village police say they are investigating two recent incidents involving vandalism of a Israel flag at a Center Street home as a possible hate crime. They added that they have several people of interest in connection with the incidents.
Ellenville Police Department Chief Phil Mattricion said Wednesday, Aug. 2, that police were called to the home on two separate occasions on Thursday, July 20, and Monday, July 31, that the resident’s Israel flag was torn down and thrown onto the ground.
“She wanted to speak to officers about it,” Mattricion said. “She felt that it was an act of antisemitism.”
Mattricion said the incident could be treated as a hate crime, but it was too early in the investigation to tell for sure.
“Right now we’re treating it as a criminal mischief case, but we’re concerned it’s a Israel flag and happened to a person of Jewish descent,” he said. “Once we pick up the individual, we’ll see if it will fit into the category of a hate crime.”
Mattricion said at a minimum the individual who targeted the flag would face a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. If it’s determined to be a hate crime, the charge would be increased to felony criminal mischief as a hate crime, he added.
“It’s an active investigation and we’re continuing to go over every lead we have,” he said. “We have some people of interest, and we’re going to follow up on that.”
Mattricion said this is the first such incident his department has seen in years.