2007-10-25 / Front Page


By Charles Rogers

By Charles Rogers

Local police and NYPD Hate Crime Task Force officers confer outside Canarsie High School after noose incident.            Charles Rogers
Local police and NYPD Hate Crime Task Force officers confer outside Canarsie High School after noose incident. Charles Rogers The NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit was called to Canarsie High School early Monday, along with officials of the 69th Precinct Detective Squad, when the school's principal reported she opened a package that contained a noose and a two-page, racially charged letter. The package had been mailed to the school over the weekend, police said, and when the principal, Tyona Washington, who is black, opened it at about 10:30 a.m., she immediately called them.

NYPD spokesman Detective Chris Filippazzo, said the noose and letter came in an eight-by-ten manila envelope and that the noose was not made of rope, but rather of a cotton-type material, and tied "symbolically" like a noose. The letters accompanying it were full of "anti-black, anti-principal" racial slurs, sources said. This is Washington's first year as principal.

Along with the local detective squad, members of the NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force descended on the Rockaway Parkway school and Crime Scene Unit officials took the noose, envelope and letters for forensic testing.

Meanwhile, the principal continued to conduct school business as usual. She did not speak to the media, but a spokesperson for the Department of Education said they are working closely with police and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein issued a statement saying he is "appalled by this cowardly act."

"Racist threats and symbols have no place in our society, least of all our schools. We are providing extra support and guidance to the school and will work with the police to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice." He said he spoke to Washington after the incident was disclosed and said she is determined not to let the incident distract her or her staff from the important work they do for the children.

City Councilman Lew Fidler issued a statement saying, "I am outraged at the stupidity, vulgarity and hatefulness of the person who would send a noose to the principal of Canarsie High School. We are not that kind of community and won't tolerate the likes of anyone who thinks that it is.

"I will work with the 69th Precinct in any way possible to see that this unimaginative hate-monger is brought to justice, and know that the district attorney will prosecute the individual to the fullest extent of the law."

Captain Ralph Monteforte, commanding officer of the local precinct, said that, besides the usual contingent of police officers and school safety officers, he has beefed up his patrols.

"The NYPD is continuing to use all manpower necessary in this investigation," he said. "Not only are my personnel, including Community Affairs and School Safety Division on alert, but we are maintaining contact with the principal and other school authorities," he said.

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