Police: Teen arrested after racially offensive epithet found on burning building

Investigation continues after racially offensive epithet found on burning building (WRGB)

SCHODACK, NY (WRGB)-- police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection to what they're calling a hate crime.

However, the boy is not being charged with a hate crime because of his age.

Chief Joseph Belardo says the teen is charged with multiple felonies including Arson, Burglary, Criminal Mischief, and 7 counts of Reckless Endangerment.

He says they're not releasing his identity because he is a juvenile. Right now, police say the boy is not known to the family who lives here and they do not have a motive for his alleged crimes which include spray painting a swastika and a racial slur on a family's garage, then setting it on fire.

However, Belardo says his department worked with State Police to bring justice quickly and send a message that crimes like this will not be tolerated.

"We're a small agency, so we're limited with our resources, but we took everything else we were working on and put it to the back burner. Plus, the fact that people in the neighborhood were outraged by the fact something like this could happen in their neighborhood and they wanted to see this solved as much as we did," Belardo explained.

The homeowner, LaQuan Madison, who lives with his wife and their 5 young children, says he is trying to explain to them why anyone would do something like this - and how to cope with it.

"I teach them that you don't have to hate anybody, we're not always going to have the same ideologies or the same beliefs. However, if I allow something to get to me, then whoever wants to harm me already won," Madison said.

The Chief says the case is still open and he's hoping the public will come forward with more information.

He also says he is pleased with the overwhelming response from the community looking to help the Madison family, and that in more than 20 years at the department he's never seen anything like it.


SCHODACK, NY (WRGB)--More investigations are being launched into what State Police are calling a hate crime, after a family's garage was painted with racist graffiti and set on fire.

The Albany NAACP says they've begun an investigation of their own.

In a statement, Albany NAACP President David Traynham says they are "Prepared to take legal, legislative, and community action against any acts of hate..."

Traynham says they will push for the Department of Justice to intervene as well should this prove to be a hate crime.

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