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Adams offers reward for WWI memorial vandals

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is offering a $5,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest of pro-Palestinian protesters who vandalized a World War I memorial in Central Park with graffiti.

The 107th Infantry Memorial was desecrated by anti-Israel demonstrators as hundreds marched from Hunter College to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to the New York Police Department. The statue was also tagged with a red triangle, a symbol used in Hamas to denote a target. An American flag was also burned, authorities said.

Demonstrators spray-painted words like “Gaza” and phrases “Free Palestine” and “Let Gaza live,” according to the NYPD, which said it will “leave no stone unturned” until the perpetrators are caught.

“This despicable act of vandalism undermines the freedoms so many fought and died for,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It has not gone unnoticed, and will not go unpunished. The NYPD is known for its exceptional investigative abilities, and this case will be no exception.”

The Grand Army Plaza Sherman Memorial honoring Union Gen. William Sherman was also vandalized with similar graffiti as the infantry memorial, the NYPD said.

An outraged Adams said Tuesday that he is putting up $5,000 of his own money for a reward leading to the arrest of the vandals, adding to the $10,000 reward offered by the group CrimeStoppers.

“I want to be extremely clear. I love America, and I’m proud to be a citizen of America. And the reason we are here is because of men and women like the statue behind us,” Adams told reporters at a Tuesday press conference in front of the memorial. “We cannot remain silent when our symbols of freedom are desecrated by individuals who clearly hate our country and hate our way of life.”

Adams, who said he is offering the cash reward in honor of his 19-year-old “Uncle Joe” who died in the Vietnam War, called the vandals “cowards” and vowed that the city would eventually track them down.

“We cannot remain silent,” he said. “We are going to treat this crime with the seriousness that it deserves.”

New York City has been a focus of anti-Israel protests at college campuses over the last few weeks, with violent clashes between demonstrators at Columbia University and other elite schools. Nearly 2,000 arrests have been made at colleges across the country as protesters in support of Palestinians continue to object to the Israel-Hamas war.

The demonstrators, part of a “Day of Rage” protest organized by the Palestinian activist group Within Our Lifetime, had marched from Hunter College toward the Met Museum but were turned back by police and filtered into Central Park, according to the NYPD. About two dozen anti-Israel protesters were arrested.

“I want to assure you that the NYPD, backed by our finest detectives, is actively investigating this heinous crime,” Daughtry said. “We will leave no stone unturned until the perpetrators are brought to justice.”