It’s been a year since the terror attacks in Jersey City that left five people, including the shooters, killed at a kosher grocery. And a detective was shot dead by the same assailants at a nearby cemetery just before the attack at the store.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attacks were acts of hate and domestic terrorism fueled by anti-Semitism and hatred of the police. On Thursday he held a panel discussion to mark the anniversary of the attacks.
US Attorney Craig Carpenito said it was just a taste of what 2020 would bring. “The saddest part of all of this is it was a prelude to a year where I think what we saw was just total and utter intolerance throughout this country,” he said.
Carpenito went on to talk about the fatal shooting just seven months later of the son of federal judge Esther Salas, a hate crime directed at the Latino judge at her New Jersey home.
Carpenito praised the FBI for getting to the scene quickly and investigating the scope of the attack in Jersey City. “We immediately went to are we missing anything? Is this a single cell attack,” he said, “or is there potentially some sort of sleeper cell out there in another area of the state that is going to follow up this attack with another attack, whether it’s later in the day, the next day, the following weeks.”
The panel also talked about what can be done to prevent hate crimes. Jared Maples, head of New Jersey’s office of homeland security, said the disinformation rampant on social media that fuels hate must be stopped. “We cannot as a society listen to quite frankly the gobbledegook that is out there and not counter it,” he said, “so we do our role, we view the role of homeland security in this as essential.”