NYPD on lookout for NYC white supremacists as hate crimes rise

The NYPD is on the lookout for white supremacists in the city as the department tries to fight back against hate crimes, which remain on the rise. NY1 Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger has the details from police headquarters.

After the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last month involving the KKK and white supremacists, the NYPD acknowledges it is keeping a watch on these groups as best it can. 

"While those of us at the NYPD and the U.S. government broadly track groups that commit acts of domestic terrorism — which is a crime — there is no official government list of designated domestic terrorist groups like there is for foreign terrorist organizations," said Meaghan Gruppo of the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau.

For the first time in a public forum, the NYPD spoke about what it called white nationalist violence. There are concerns some attacks may have been inspired by Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who shot and killed nine African-Americans inside a Charleston, South Carolina church two years ago.

Police say that mass killing may have inspired the stabbing death of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman on a Manhattan street in March. The man charged in that murder allegedly traveled to New York to kill black men.

"There are similarities: They were both radicalized online, they both frequented sites that discussed black-on-white violence and advocated for white supremacy over different minority groups, and they both allegedly penned manifestos," Gruppo said.

While speaking with Jewish leaders about security for the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, NYPD officials said new groups are popping up, looking to recruit millennials to become white supremacists. Rabbis at the forum said it was important to get this information.

"The police will protect us, but they are trying to inform us of the types of people that lurk in shadows," said Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, a Crown Heights community leader.

"It gave me a chill of what society we live in, what's going on in this day and age, that we have to be extra careful," said Rabbi Abe Friedman, an NYPD liaison.

The NYPD says so far this year, 273 hate crimes have been reported across the city — most of them anti-Semitic.

That's a dramatic increase, and the NYPD says it is searching for ways to prevent them.

"Because it is our mission to make sure nobody in New York City lives their life in fear," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the forum.

Photo above of white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville.

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