Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler issued the following statement Sunday following the arrest by the New York State Police of Village of Greenwood Lake resident Grafton Thomas, for Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, in connection with the stabbing of five people at the home of an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in Rockland County.
Thomas was charged with second-degree attempted murder.
“Whether or not it is determined that this particular crime was motivated by hate, there is no denying that anti-Semitic crimes are on the rise,” Hoovler said in his statement. “I have full faith in the ability of the New York State Police and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office to determine the facts and circumstances of this horrendous event and proceed accordingly.
"Given the possibility, and what will be the public’s understandable and inevitable concern that this was a Hate Crime, particularly in light of recent anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn, and the tragedy in Jersey City," the district attorney continued, "we must stand together and send a clear message that there is absolutely no room for hate motivated crimes here in Orange County, or anywhere else for that matter. Anti-Semitic actions and messages do not reflect the values of the overwhelming majority of Orange County residents. Those who engage in Hate Crimes will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted by my office.
Hoovler continued: "Resources that we have devoted to combating Hate Crimes include sponsoring training for police officers, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, on recognizing and investigating Hate Crimes, hiring an investigator specially training in, and dedicated to, investigating Hate Crimes, and assigning a senior prosecutor to coordinate efforts to investigate and prosecute Hate Crimes. We have sponsored public service announcements in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County and have provided educational programs and materials in our high schools in an effort to prevent Hate Crimes before they happen. The District Attorney’s Office, with funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, developed an informational brochure, Speak Up to Stand Up Against Hate, as well as a related poster, both of which are available for public distribution.
"I remind all Orange County residents that the District Attorney’s Office has established a Hate Crimes Hotline, (800) 378-1411, that residents can use to report hate crime incidents.”