A teenager accused of vandalizing a Holocaust memorial in downtown Boston was reportedly tackled and detained by two bystanders until police arrived.
Boston police arrested the 17-year-old from Malden, Massachusetts, in connection to vandalism at the New England Holocaust Memorial on Monday evening.
Witnesses said they saw the young man throw a rock at the memorial, shattering a glass panel that was engraved with numbers meant to represent the tattoos forced on many victims of the Holocaust at Nazi-run concentration camps.
The site consists of six glass towers that represent the six million Jews killed by Nazis, as well as the six main concentration camps where victims of the Holocaust died, according to the memorial’s website.
Police charged the teen with the willful and malicious destruction of property, and the Boston Police Department’s civil rights unit is investigating whether further charges will be made.
The incident occurred in the wake of a violent rally by white supremacists and armed militia groups that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Much of the rhetoric of Saturday’s rally echoed anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda, with white supremacists seen holding signs and chanting slogans like “Jews will not replace us” and “the Jewish media is going down.”
Boston’s police commissioner, Williams Evans, said Monday’s vandalism must be seen in the context of the events in Charlottesville.
“Clearly, this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our city,” Evans said in a statement. “And, in light of the recent events and unrest in Charlottesville, it’s sad to see a young person choose to engage in such senseless and shameful behavior.”
Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Combined Jewish Philanthropies released a statement on Tuesday condemning the vandalism.
“The images of Nazis marching in the streets of America over the weekend in Charlottesville and now shattered glass once again at this sacred space in Boston are an affront to our Jewish community and to all those who stand-up against bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism,” the statement read.
Monday’s incident marks the second time the New England Holocaust Memorial has been attacked by vandals in the last two months. In June, 21-year-old James Isaac was arrested for shattering one of the memorial’s glass panels with a rock.