Anti-Israel teen, 16, arrested for defacing WWI memorial: NYPD

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A teenage anti-Israel agitator who police say defaced a World War I memorial in New York City earlier this week has been arrested and charged, the NYPD says. 

The 16-year-old boy is accused of defacing the 107th United States Infantry monument, located along Central Park on the Upper East Side, by spray-painting “Gaza” in red across the base of the structure.                                                                  

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry, last night posted an image on X, formerly Twitter, of the young vandal in handcuffs sitting on a bench inside a police station. His face is blurred out.

The New York Post initially reported, citing sources, that the teen’s father turned him in, but police denied that to Fox News. They attributed the arrest to good police work and an assist by a school safety agent.

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Daughtry also posted an image of the teen caught in the act on Monday vandalizing the monument, which depicts seven U.S. Army soldiers in the throes of battle in September 1918, as they burst through the Hindenburg Line — the last and strongest of the German army’s defense. 

“The despicable vandalism we saw earlier this week on the WWI Memorial will not be ignored, and will not go unpunished,” Daughtry wrote, blasting the hateful act.

“One of the culprits was placed in handcuffs today thanks to the World’s Greatest Detectives. This isn’t simply juvenile hijinks — it’s an act of desecration that undermines the freedoms our heroes fought and died for. If you have any information regarding this incident, call 800-577-TIPS or DM @NYPDTIPS.”

The teen has been charged with two counts of criminal mischief in the third degree, which are felonies, and two counts of making graffiti, a class A misdemeanor, police say. 

The suspect is a regular face at rallies organized by the anti-Israel group Within Our Lifetime and attends Tottenville High School, the New York Post reports, citing police sources. He has no prior arrests.

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Burned American flag

On Monday, as anti-Israel protests were underway in the area near Hunter College and the star-studded Met Gala, demonstrators placed pro-Palestinian stickers on the memorial, spray-painted “Free Gaza” and burned the American flag at the site. 

Video footage posted online shows a group of anti-Israel supporters placing a flag on the statue and using spray paint to advocate for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

Officials noted that the memorial is different from most others, which generally honor high-ranking military officials. 

statue defaced at 67th and 5th NYC

“This is a [monument] to the Doughboys,” Zachary Iscol, commissioner of the city’s Department of Emergency Management, said after the incident, referring to the nickname for troops under Army Gen. John Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces.

Elsewhere on Monday night, protesters also put a Palestinian flag on a statue honoring Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman near Central Park. NYPD officers arrived and blocked the crowd while an officer climbed on a ladder to remove it. 

The monument was also defaced with spray paint.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Lissa Kaplan contributed to this report. 

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