The NYPD on Friday night arrested James Polite, 26, who spent his childhood living in 13 foster homes, struggled with mental illness and drug addiction, and volunteered on Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, for vandalizing Union Temple at 17 Eastern Parkway on Thursday with anti-Semitic graffiti stating, “die Jew rats we are here,” “Jews better be ready,” “End It Now” and “Hitler.”

Polite was recognized by police based in a surveillance video that showed him inside the temple. He was arrested Friday morning at a fire that had been set in the coat room of Yeshiva Beth Hillel of Williamsburg.


According to the NY Times, former City Council speaker, Christine Quinn, took Polite, under her wing in 2008, and got him an internship at the Council, working on combating hate crimes.

“This is a young man I have worked with for over a decade,” Quinn said on Saturday. “With all the setbacks, you hoped this would be a good turn. But the opposite happened.”

Quinn said she was “devastated,” adding, “What James did is horrible and in some ways unforgivable.”

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