Police arrested an Upper East Side man Wednesday in connection to an anti-Semitic attack on state Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright’s Manhattan office, a spokesperson for the lawmaker confirmed.
Karan Aggarwala, 53, has been charged with harassment, criminal trespass and making graffiti. Aggarwala is accused of splashing white paint on the storefront windows of Seawright’s office on Aug. 11 as well as leaving behind a note that was both sexually explicit and anti-Semitic in its message.
Aggarwala also allegedly made a threatening phone call to Seawright’s office in which he said he would slash her car tires, according to the New York Post.
“I wish to thank the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit, the commanders and officers of the 19th Precinct and the NYS troopers,” Seawright said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated by anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind. I look forward to justice being served in this hateful incident.”
In an interview with the Post, Aggarwala apparently admitted to leaving the note at Seawright’s office. He told the newspaper he was angry that Seawright included the name of a synagogue in her fundraising literature.
“You think it’s totally good practice for a secular state, a public political nominee, to present a religious affiliation on the same page as their fundraising effort?” Aggarwala told the Post.
Aggarwala also told the Post that he sought assistance from Seawright’s office when he lost his job as a nutritionist in 2017, but was “ignored.”
Two weeks before the incident, Seawright hosted a virtual town hall on combatting anti-Semitism with a panel of members from the Jewish community.
A second instance of anti-Semitic graffiti was reported on the UES on the same day as the attack on Seawright’s office. Eileen Toback, the Executive Director of the New York Professional Nurses Union, said she discovered a message with a similar sexual reference and anti-Semitic stereotype written in green marker on a construction porta-potty located 10 feet from her office. The police have not said whether the two incidents were connected.
“We will not be intimidated by anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind. I look forward to justice being served in this hateful incident,” Rebecca Seawright.