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Bronx Man Arrested For Allegedly Writing Racist Message On African Burial Ground Monument

Vandalism on the site of the African Burial Ground Monument.
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Vandalism on the site of the African Burial Ground Monument. Photo Credit: Suzanne Gardinier and Laura Flanders

Authorities have arrested a man believed to be responsible for racist vandalism found earlier this month at the African Burial Ground Monument, a historic site near City Hall honoring free and enslaved black residents buried in Lower Manhattan.

The suspect was reportedly identified through security camera footage, after allegedly scrawling the message "kill all n-ggers" at the site of the memorial. The Department of Homeland Security made the arrest, with assistance from the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force, according to the Daily News.

The suspect is reportedly one Ivan Nieves, a 57-year-old Bronx man. The charges are still pending, and he is expected to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the vandalism earlier this month, as part of a briefing on the uptick of reported bias incidents in New York City in recent months.

"Tragically we are seeing many communities affronted," he said. "We’re seeing hate crimes towards the African American community, towards the Jewish community, towards the Muslim community, towards the LGBT community. It all has to stop."

According to the NYPD, there have been 309 hate crimes reported as of November 7th of this year—a slight increase from the previous year, which saw a major spike in hate crimes both in New York City and nationwide.

UPDATE: Geoff Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced on Tuesday afternoon that Nieves has been charged with one count of vandalism and one count of disorderly conduct. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

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