A 24-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested by authorities in connection with vandalizing the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on Saturday, December 14th. According to Chief Sandra Spagnoli of the Beverly Hills Police Department, Nathaniel Redding was arrested in Kona Hawaii and he is facing charges that include a penalty enhancement for a hate crime. Visual evidence from inside the synagogue show destruction by means of overturned furniture, scattered prayer books, and the destruction of scrolls to name a few examples of the damages.
After Redding allegedly ravaged the synagogue, he jumped on a plane and headed for Hawaii. Leaders in the Jewish community met at a community town hall on Wednesday, December 18 to discuss how to respond when hate crimes occur. One of the leaders, Richard Hirschhaut, the Los Angeles Director of the American Jewish Committee said that the Jewish community will not stay quiet when these crimes take place.
A deadly attack was waged at a kosher market in Jersey City not long before this vandalism crime was done to the Beverly Hills Nessah Synagogue. The murderous incident in New Jersey was confirmed by investigators to have been propelled by antisemitism. Some in the local community of Beverly Hills are questioning if that deadly attack was related in any way to the motivations behind Redding’s strike against the synagogue.
How Are Hate Crimes Treated In California?
All crimes are penalized based on the circumstances for which they were committed, and in the state of California, it is not just your crime but also your motivations which will impact your sentence. Penal Code 422.55 PC is a hate crime statute that inflicts a higher level of punishment for crimes committed that are also in combination with harming or threatening a person because of that person’s:
- Race or ethnicity,
- Religion, or
- Sexual orientation
When an assault or vandalism is done by an individual motivated to attack a victim based on any of the above characteristics it is considered a hate crime in the state. Hate crimes receive additional, harsher penalties. Residents who have been the victim of a hate crime can additionally file a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator through the Ralph Civil Rights Act or the Bane Act. Both of these laws forbid individuals from threatening to or committing acts of violence against other individuals or their property.
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