What to Know
- A former professor at NYU has been arrested and charged with hate crime after he allegedly vandalized a church in Brooklyn
- Michael Gould Wartofsky, 34, allegedly uprooted plants, throwing them at the church's door, and damaging a $5,000 St. Jude statue
- The whole incident was caught on security camera at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Williamsburg early Sunday
A former professor at NYU has been arrested and charged with hate crime after he allegedly uprooted plants outside a Brooklyn church, throwing them at the door and damaging a $5,000 statue.
The whole incident was caught on security camera at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Williamsburg early Sunday. The church's pastor, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, tells NBC New York that police told him 34-year-old Michael Gould Wartofsky was drunk when he vandalized the church's property.
Wartofsky is seen on video with two other men, walking down 8th Street. He stopped in front of the church and started pulling plants from the garden, throwing it at the door but two other men didn't participate, according to the church.
The ex-Sociology professor also yelled something at the security camera. He then dragged a heavy resin statue of St. Judge to the middle of the street, repeatedly kicking it and then leaving it there.
Gigantiello says he believes Wartofsky was making a statement. "This exhibition of violence, anger, and hatred is very disturbing. This is definitely an attack on the Catholic Church," Gigantiello said.
Police charged Wartofsky with hate crime criminal mischief but no charges of public intoxication were filed.
An NYU spokesperson tells NBC New York that Wartofsky has no fall term assignment as an adjunct professor at NYU, and that he's not currently an NYU employee.