CEDAR GROVE, NJ – Cedar Grove Police released additional information on Saturday about the bias Incident that occurred at South End School on Wednesday. As previously reported Board of Education Staff reported criminal mischief to the South End School playground equipment on Wednesday evening, noting that someone had defaced playground equipment with antisemitic and anti-police graffiti. It was later found out that racist graffiti also occurred.
Police said that at the time the report was taken numerous things were found drawn on the playground many of which were not legible and were not listed in the report. As detectives investigated they learned of a photo of one particular piece of the graffiti, which had not been provided to police, but was disseminated to the public via social media and generated community concern.
Chief Joseph Cirasa released a statement "to reassure the public of the integrity of our investigation." According to the statement, the graffiti in question was an “expletive” followed by “black lives Trump 2020.” As the investigation continued police were able to document a sequence of events with the help of a witness. This revealed that the suspects who had previously written the graffiti, had in fact returned to the scene after the picture was take and before the Board of Education staff called police. According to the statement, the suspects had completely removed that specific graffiti, so neither the BOE staff nor Cedar Grove police were aware of that particular graffiti initially and at the time a press release was sent out.
"I would like to note, generally as a matter of practice revealing too much information publicly is not a best police investigative practice. It may not only compromise the case, but more importantly it can conflict with an individual’s right to due process and a fair and just investigation," Cirasa stated. "The investigation is continuing. Once again if anyone has any additional information please share it with police, you can contact us at any time, Cedar Grove Police, 973-239-4100, and at firstname.lastname@example.org."
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