Jewish Journal


April 10, 2012

Girls admit to syrup swastikas, mother could face charge


Photo from the Northridge home.

Photo from the Northridge home.

Three teenaged girls admitted on April 4 to defacing a Northridge home with swastikas, but will not face criminal charges, according to investigators with the LAPD’s Devonshire Division. However, the mother of one girl could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for driving the girls to the scene, based on a charge police are recommending to the city attorney’s office.

On Tuesday morning, April 3, a Northridge family awoke to find three swastikas and the word “Jew” written in maple syrup on their front walkway. The homeowner, the son of a Holocaust survivor, said maple syrup also covered his front door as well as two cars parked in front of the home. Feces were also found near the home’s front door, and toilet paper was strewn in the property’s trees.

A second nearby property was also defaced with toilet paper.

Police confirmed the three teenaged girls were responsible, but they could not be charged with a crime because the syrup, feces and toilet paper had caused no permanent damage.

The homeowner said the three girls were former friends of his teenage daughter and that they attend the same school, Nobel Middle School.

An LAPD press release issued after police interviewed the girls on April 4 describes the defacement as “an ill-advised prank.”

“It was a very unfortunate incident, but it did not amount to a criminal act,” Devonshire Division’s Lt. Silva Atwater said.

Without a criminal charge, police also could not charge the girls with a hate crime.

“Hate crimes enhance the penalty for an already existing crime when it can be shown,” said Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The girls’ actions will instead be recorded as a “hate incident.” “It goes down in the stats and everything else, however … there is no prosecution,” LAPD Capt. Kris Pitcher said.

The ADL, LAPD and Nobel Middle School are working together to conduct tolerance training for the school’s entire student body and staff, Pitcher said. A date for the training has not yet been set.

On April 6, police recommended that the City Attorney’s office charge the mother, whose name will be released if charged, with contributing to delinquency of a minor, which carries up to year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

This is “what we feel is the most applicable charge under this circumstance,” Pitcher said.

And while the girls won’t be charged by police, Nobel took disciplinary action this week. School and district officials would not confirm a rumor that the girls had been either expelled of suspended.

According to Monica Carazo, public information officer for Los Angeles Unified School District, the girls “are being disciplined according to school policy.”

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