BROOKLYN - Displaying a swastika or burning a cross is a felony offense, and city leaders want the same classification applied to people charged with hanging a noose.
Officials want the state to make it a felony to display a noose where it?s not wanted, which could result in up to four years in jail for anyone convicted. It would put the symbol on equal terms with the swastika.
?There?s absolutely no reason why something equally repugnant, such as a noose, shouldn?t be treated equally,? Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. said.
The city has been hit by more than one high-profile hate incident recently. Just weeks ago, the principal at Canarsie High School was sent a noose in the mail.
One month prior to the Canarsie incident, vandals painted swastikas on the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. If the state Assembly approves the noose felony law, it will punish the display of a noose in the same way it punishes unwanted displays of the swastika or a burning cross.
A noose, swastika or burning cross can only be displayed on property when the property owner has given explicit permission.
Council members and civic leaders said they?re shocked the change in crime classification is needed in such a diverse city.
?It?s unfortunate that these hateful attempts to harass, threaten and intimidate are happening at the crossroads of the world,? Robert Jackson, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said.
If the City Council approves the resolution, the bill then has to be approved by the state Assembly before it becomes a law. Council members hope the issue will be taken care of as soon as possible.
For a press conference with council members urging Assembly to pass anti-noose law, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.