The suspect, Ivan Nieves, is accused of vandalizing the monument on November 1, using a marker to write an anti-black statement. He faces vandalism and disorderly conduct charges.
HATE HAS NO PLACE IN NYC - An arrest has been made for the hate crime vandalism to the African Burial Ground Nat'l Monument in lower Manhattan. In collaboration w/ the Hate Crimes Task Force, Nat'l Park Police & Federal Protective Service, @DHSgov has arrested Ivan Nieves, 57. pic.twitter.com/TU8jfdkxrT— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) November 20, 2018
"The protections of the First Amendment allow all Americans to express their opinions without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. However, those protections do not apply when you deface federal property in the name of hate," Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
The site is known as the oldest and largest excavated gravesite for both free and enslaved Africans in the U.S.
This incident was the latest in a string of hate crimes across the city, including several anti-Semitic crimes in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg.
The NYPD reported a total of 309 hate crimes from January to October, and 37 of those were anti-black attacks.
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