New York State offering reward in Columbia County hate crime case
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
George P. Beach II
The New York State Police is asking for the public’s assistance to help solve a suspected hate crime case in the town of Taghkanic, Columbia County.
The state is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case, which involved racial slurs spray-painted on a new home under construction at 410 Taghkanic Road.
On Monday, June 12, a contractor working on the home contacted State Police after discovering graffiti as he arrived on the job site. Investigators believe the vandalism occurred sometime between 6:30pm Saturday June 10th, and the discovery on the morning of June 12.
The State Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area during this time period to contact investigators with that information. In addition, investigators are asking nearby residents who have surveillance cameras to review the video for any suspicious activity. Anyone with information should contact the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Livingston by calling (845) 677-7300.
The hate crime reward program was first announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in February. It is one of a number of actions Governor Cuomo has taken to combat hate and bias-related incidents, including the creation of a State Police Hate Crimes Unit. A member of the unit is involved with this investigation.
Governor Cuomo also launched a new Hate Crimes Text Line, enabling a victim or witness to immediately report suspected bias-related incidents by texting “HATE” to 81336 with details of the incident, including photo or video documentation.
The text line is in addition to a toll-free telephone bias and discrimination hotline operated by the State Division of Human Rights (1-888-392-3644). Since its creation last November, the hotline has received more than 5,500 calls, and has referred 127 complaints to the State Police for investigation into potential criminal conduct.Anyone who believes they are the victim of a crime, or needs emergency assistance, should always first dial 911.