Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Staten Island Man Arrested After Painting Swastika On Neighbor’s Home

(JTA) — A man who painted a swastika on a Staten Island, New York family’s home was sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation.

James Rizzo Jr. told police at the time of his arrest in October 2017 that he knew the family was Jewish “because of the way they spoke.” He also painted the misspelled slur “Kyke” on the garage.

Rizzo, who served the jail time while awaiting trial, pleaded guilty last month in State Supreme court to third-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime, the Staten Island Advance reported.

He was seen on surveillance camera footage vandalizing the white door with black paint of a house located down the street from where he lived.

Debra Calabrese, who at the time of the incident had lived in the house for 14 years with her husband, who is not Jewish, originally told local media that she did not plan to paint over the graffiti because she wanted people to see it, despite urging by police to cover it up once their investigation was completed.

Following Rizzo’s arrest, a special clean-up team arrived at the home to power wash and repaint the garage door at the behest of local city councilmen.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.