Vandals defaced a statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese outside of MCU Park in Coney Island during the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 7.
According to Billy Harner, director of communications for the Brooklyn Cyclones, someone put hateful graffiti on the statue itself and on the base sometime between midnight and 6 a.m.
“The graffiti was anti-Semitic and racist in nature,” Harner said, adding that the graffiti on the statue was able to be removed almost immediately and workers are in the process of trying to remove the markings on the stone base.
“Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese embody the inclusiveness that make our borough, city and country great,” Harner said. “It is both heartbreaking and deeply disturbing that this statue, which is a symbol of equality and tolerance, has been defaced in such a hateful way.”
Harner said that the incident is being labeled a bias crime and is currently being handled by the New York City Police Department’s Hate Crime Unit.
Councilmember David Greenfield, State Senator Eric Adams and community activist and City Council candidate Mark Treyger are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the crime.
“The fact that a statue celebrating the historic friendship of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese was vandalized with anti-black and anti-Semitic graffiti makes this incident even more despicable,” Greenfield said.
“This action is not in the spirit of Brooklyn or in the spirit of Jackie Robinson or Pee Wee Reese,” added Adams. “And to desecrate the statues that represent their memory and legacy is unforgivable.”
“We cannot – and will not – be intimidated by such vile individuals. Everything that is great about Brooklyn, and New York City, comes from its diversity,” Treyger said. “For this to occur in Coney Island – a neighborhood known for its rich diversity – is particularly outrageous and despicable.”
Borough President Marty Markowitz said he was “beyond disgusted” with the acts.
“This reprehensible behavior is a direct affront to the millions of Brooklynites that stand for diversity and respect,” he said. “Whatever socially disconnected individual is responsible for this racist, anti-Semitic and frankly antisocial act is clearly consumed by self-hate.”
The Municipal Credit Union, which sponsors the park, said it was “deeply disheartened” when hearing the news.
“There is no place in the community or society for the vandalism and negative racist comments perpetrated today on the statue, on our ballpark, and on our community,” said Mike Mattone, assistant vice president of MCU. “We are hopeful that the NYPD can swiftly apprehend the person or persons responsible for this heinous action.”