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NYC teen accused of defacing war memorial during anti-Israel protest shaves head to hide identity: police

A teen anti-Israel protester accused of shamefully vandalizing a hallowed war memorial during a violent rally later shaved his head to hide his identification as media scrutiny across the demonstration grew, police stated Friday.

The 16-year-old suspect — a Tottenville High School pupil already often known as a daily at protests held by the anti-Israel Within Our Lifetime — confirmed up to Manhattan court docket Friday with a buzz lower, which he adopted after he and different demonstrators have been photographed and videotaped scrawling graffiti together with “GAZA” on war memorials in Central Park on Monday, police and law-enforcement sources stated.

The teen’s household used a keffiyeh to attempt to hide him from photographers as they left court docket after he was arraigned on felony felony mischief and misdemeanor graffiti costs and freed.

Teen suspect
The suspected teen vandal wears a buzzcut as he’s escorted on the courthouse Friday. Robert Miller
Vandal in Central Park
A vandal scrawls graffiti on a World War I memorial in Central Park on Monday. Getty Images

“He’s a very good kid, that’s it, that’s all I’m going to say,” the teen’s father stated exterior the household’s Staten Island dwelling after court docket.

The boy was ID’d as one of the vandals who defaced the WWI memorial devoted to Manhattan’s 107th Infantry Regiment, in addition to a statue of Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, authorities stated Friday.

“He’s accused of spray-painting the word ‘Gaza.’ He’s seen with the spray paint clearly on video writing out the word ‘Gaza,’ ” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny advised reporters at a briefing Friday afternoon.

“He shaved his head when he found out he was wanted,” Kenny added.

“The incident itself was posted on multiple, multiple social platforms, and we were able to use facial identification recognition.”

The teenager was taken into custody Thursday night — after he and his household engaged in a greater than three-hour standoff with cops at their Staten Island dwelling, in accordance to a neighbor and police sources.

The suspected pupil, whose Instagram account has been yanked down, “posted a picture of the cops outside his house yesterday, and it said something like, ‘NYPD get out,’” stated a ninth-grader at Tottenville HS who noticed the submit.

The neighbor, who didn’t need to give her title, added to The Post, “The police were here for three or four hours, from about 4 o’clock to 7 o’clock.

The teen's family shields him from cameras
The teen’s family shields him from cameras outside court Friday. Robert Miller
The teen's dad
The boy’s dad insists his son is “a very good kid.” Robert Miller

“Some police wore suits, others had vests. … Everybody in the neighborhood was watching,” she stated.

“He’s a normal kid. He’s a nice boy. The parents are nice,’’ the neighbor insisted of the suspect and relatives, who police sources said are Palestinian.

“He must have got caught up in the moment and followed a bad crowd.”

The teen, whose title is being withheld by The Post as a result of of his age, is suspected of collaborating in what authorities known as “despicable vandalism.’’

He was accused in a post on X by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry on Thursday night of having taken part in the vandalism of a historic World War I memorial — an act considered so offensive that Mayor Eric Adams even donated $5,000 of his own money toward the apprehension and conviction of the culprits.

The NYPD public-information office said a few hours later only that the teen was charged with defacing the Sherman statue.

It then back-tracked Friday and said the teen was only charged in the desecration of a bronze statue of a Union Army soldier from the Civil War.

In the later briefing with reporters, Kenny said the teen had allegedly defaced the WWI monument and Sherman.

The teen suspect in a towel
The teen suspect covers his head with a towel outside court Friday. Robert Miller

The crimes occurred Monday night as a mob tried to storm the star-studded Met Gala at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art to protest Israel’s war in Gaza.

The teen was identified by authorities four days later, including with the help of tips to the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline, law-enforcement sources said.

A caller told police the name and date of birth of the suspect, as well as the school he went to, sources said.

The cops then called Tottenville, where a school safety agent confirmed the teen’s ID, sources said.

Police went to the boy’s home — and spent hours negotiating with his parents, who refused to hand him over or even let the officers inside, sources said.

It was finally agreed that the parents would walk the teen the two blocks to the 121st Precinct station house, where he was arrested, sources said.

The teen suspect sitting outside court
The suspect sits outside court, cuffed to the bench. @NYPDDaughtry

“It’s not really a surrender when we’re at your front door and you don’t have a lot of options,” a supply stated.

“It was the easy way or the hard way, and this was the reasonable way.”

Kenny added, “We were at his residence trying to make an apprehension, the father came out, asked what was going on and basically retained an attorney and worked out his surrender.

“We had Hate Crimes investigating just in case it went that way. It was deemed not to be a hate crime,” the highest cop stated.

The ninth-grader at Tottenville stated the suspect “is sweet” and in addition very concerned with social justice.

“He is really political. He’s always posting about Palestine on Snapchat and Instagram, always posting ‘Free Palestine,’ ” the scholar stated. “He goes to the protests a lot.”

Another neighbor, Simone Bullard, stated the household “has lived right here perhaps eight or 10 years.

“It’s horrible. He’s an excellent child who should have been caught up within the mistaken crowd,’’ Bullard stated. “There’s quite a bit of unhealthy issues happening on this planet proper now.’’

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