Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today ordered the New York State Police, SUNY Police and the State Division of Human Rights to conduct a multi-agency investigation into the alleged hate crime that took place at SUNY Geneseo on Friday. The incident was first reported by a residence assistant who discovered graffiti, including a swastika and the word “Trump,” at the university’s Nassau Residence Hall. This marks the second investigation launched into alleged hate crimes in New York in the past few hours.
“To those who think they can intimidate our fellow New Yorkers through racism or anti-Semitism I have one message: Don't count on it," Governor Cuomo said. "It is unacceptable that this is the second investigation that we have had to announce in the last several hours. Any and every reported incident will be investigated and pursued to the fullest extent of the law by the State Police and the Division of Human rights. To any New Yorker who is scared, I want you to know that we have your back, that we will keep you safe, and that protecting your rights is what America stands for."
In 2000, New York State enacted legislation to strengthen penalties for hate crimes. Under the law, a person commits a hate crime when one of a specified set of offenses is committed targeting a victim because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, or when such an act is committed as a result of that type of perception or belief. Hate crimes can be perpetrated against an individual, a group of individuals or against public or private property. Also under state law it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, ethnicity and many other protected classifications.