Ex-NYPD Officer Arrested for Anti-Semitic Graffiti

Ex-officer originally from Indonesia arrested after security cameras catch him scrawling hateful screed in Jewish Borough Park.

Ari Yashar ,

Suspect thought to be Michael Setiawan vandal
Suspect thought to be Michael Setiawan vandal

A former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer was arrested on Sunday, after surveillance video apparently captured him on an anti-Semitic graffiti rampage in the religious Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park.

The ex-officer, Michael Setiawan, was 12-years-old when his family emigrated to the US from Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

Setiawan was charged with 19 counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, and is pending arraignment, reports New York Daily News.

A suspect believed to be Setiawan can be seen on security video wielding a spray paint bottle in front of the Bnos Zion Bobov School on Saturday night. At the site, and on buildings and cars along local roads, were sprayed swastikas and words such as "(expletive) you Jew" and "Jew cheap (expletive)."

In another surveillance video, the same vandal can be seen getting out of a car registered to Setiawan, said a police source, adding "something happened to this guy. He’s not well."

Setiawan left the NYPD in 2007 after two years on the force because he suffered from depression, according to the police source. In addition, his younger brother Erik, who was a traffic cop, committed suicide through an overdose of prescription drugs in 2011, said the police.

A neighbor of Setiawan remarked that the former officer showed signs of being mentally ill, potentially with bipolar disorder, noting "he's got problems. But he's a good guy. Quiet. Helpful."

A more endemic problem?

“Hate is not a Brooklyn value, and I repudiate any lowlife individual who would spread their prejudiced invective,” Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD officer Eric Adams said in response to the event.

Apparently Setiawan is not the only anti-Semitic vandal in Brooklyn, however.

A swastika and graffiti reading "(expletive) Jews" was found over the weekend on a block in Manhattan Beach, another Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Jewish population.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch released the pictures, saying police had told him they didn't believe it was the work of Setiawan.

Regarding Setiawan's alleged barrage of anti-Semitic graffiti which cropped up over night in Borough Park, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) condemned the vandalism in no uncertain terms.

“We have many Holocaust survivors here, many elderly people and children who are appropriately frightened by unprovoked hate attacks upon their schools and community. Hate attacks on our community will not go unpunished," declared Hikind.

This is not the first time Borough Park has been hit by anti-Semitic crimes in the recent past.

The "knockout game" which targeted religious Jews in unprovoked surprise violence, often being perpetrated by groups of African-American youth, spread to the neighborhood last November when a young religious man was punched in the face outside his home.

A 65-year-old hareidi Jew was targeted in the neighborhood by the same "game," as he was on his way home from his grandson's wedding.