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May 19, 2019

Anti-swastika posters in Brooklyn mistakenly thought to be anti-Semitic, sparking NYPD probe

September 27, 2018
Two unidentified males paste what NYPD thought was anti-Semitic posters on a wall along Driggs Ave. between N. 7th and 8th Sts. in Williamsburg Brooklyn. (DCPI)

Someone got their messages mixed up.

An anti-hate image posted on a Brooklyn construction site, showing a swastika with a red line drawn through it, ended up on the radar of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force — after someone mistook it for an anti-Semitic image last month.

The NYPD on Wednesday released video showing what cops described as “two unidentified males (who) pasted several anti-Semitic posters on a wall” on Driggs Ave. between N. 7th and 8th Sts. in Williamsburg on Aug. 22.

Police said they were investigating the posters as “aggravated harassment,” and the Hate Crimes task force had been notified.

The image, it turned out, was an “anti-swastika” message by street artist Katsu and apparel designer Alife.

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Alife®/ Katsu™ ?? @plutocrats

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After getting calls from reporters, the NYPD issued a statement, “Correction: the posters were not anti-Semitic.”

The department wouldn’t say if it still considers the posters “aggravated harassment.”

James Jones, a sales associate at Alife’s Upper East Side store, said the designers were expecting the image would cause some controversy, which they meant as a rebuke of hatred.

“I guess people are not seeing it that way. They’re just seeing the swastika,” he said.

The Brooklyn woman who initially reported them to police declined to comment Wednesday night.

“I’m walking into a meeting. I have no time for this call,” she said.

The property’s owners, Driggs Partners LLC, did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday night.

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