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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker: We stand by the Jewish community after Holocaust Memorial vandalism

By Shira Schoenberg | Aug 17, 2017

BOSTON -- "Shocking," "disturbing" and "sad" were among the adjectives used by state and local politicians to describe Monday's vandalism at the New England Holocaust Memorial.

"We go 20 years and absolutely nothing happens there, in spite of the fact that people had build a number of additional panes of glass in anticipation that somebody might do this," Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters. "To have two of them destroyed in the course of several months is disturbing and sad."

On Monday, a 17-year-old was arrested for shattering one of the Boston memorial's glass panels. Another glass panel was shattered by a rock in June, allegedly by James Issac, a 21-year-old man with mental health issues.

The 17-year-old appeared in court Tuesday and was released on his own recognizance with an order to stay away from the Holocaust memorial and receive mental health treatment, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. The names of juveniles who are arrested are not public record.

Additionally, Said Bouzit, 37, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly destroying flowers placed at the Holocaust memorial. He gave his address as a mental health facility in Boston. Bail was set at $5,000, and his bail was revoked in a separate case involving assault and battery on a corrections officer.

Baker said state government will stand by the Jewish community and make clear that anyone who engages in vandalism will be prosecuted. "We are going to continue to be supportive of all of our communities, including the Jewish community, for whom I know the pain that's associated with this each time it happens," Baker said.

"I'm really glad ... that they caught the teenager that was involved in breaking that glass, and I hope it doesn't happen again," Baker said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was scheduled to speak Tuesday afternoon at a community gathering at the memorial. Walsh, speaking to reporters after an unrelated event, called the vandalism a "sad situation." Walsh said he is not sure of the circumstances surrounding the man accused of vandalism.

"A couple of decades without having any problems with the memorial. In the last month and a half we've had it twice," Walsh said. "Hopefully, it's an isolated incident."

The vandalism comes days after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A similar rally was planned for Boston on Saturday, although it is currently not clear whether ralliers will get the proper permits.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, said the hatred that is on display "is a concern that exists everywhere in America, and we're not immune to it in Boston, unfortunately."

Chang-Diaz said Boston has a lot of assets to draw on for a unified response, through longstanding partnerships between different cultural and religious communities. "It is shocking to most people to see in this day and age in our backyard here in Boston things like the Holocaust memorial vandalism, and we don't really know what to expect form the march," Chang-Diaz said.

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