GREENBURGH, NY — September 21, 2019 — Earlier this week, a swastika was found at Scarsdale High School. In the past, swastikas were found on street signs in the River Villages of Greenburgh, and in a nursery school in Westchester County. Usually, the person who commits the act is not caught. Two years ago, I received threatening anti-semitic emails directed to my work email summarized by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office delineated below. Greenburgh Police Department Detectives were exceptional; they identified the alleged person who made the threat against me and my family and made an arrest. The accused pled not guilty after spending a night in jail and posting bail. This week, there was a trial in White Plains City Court and the individual (who does not live in Greenburgh) was convicted.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said, “A special thank you to the outstanding efforts and skills of the Greenburgh Police Department and to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office for their efforts and for successfully prosecuting the alleged crime.
We read, almost daily, of anti-semitic and racist acts around Westchester, the Region and the Nation. We should not become immune to acts of intolerance of any type. I hope that this conviction will send a message to people who are considering threatening others that they could get caught and prosecuted.
Even more importantly, I hope we can all learn to respect and support each other,” concluded Supervisor Feiner
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Timothy Goetz, White Plains Man, Convicted of Threatening Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner
Defendant: Timothy Goetze (DOB 04/02/75)
WHITE PLAINS, NY — September 20, 2019 — Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced that Timothy Goetze (DOB 04/02/75) of White Plains was found guilty of three counts of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, class A misdemeanors, for threats made against Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and his family in 2017.
Goetze was found guilty Thursday following a bench trial before Judge Jo Ann Friia in White Plains City Court. The court sentenced Goetze to a one-year conditional discharge with 75 hours community service and orders of protection for Feiner, his wife and his daughter.
Westchester County District Attorney Scarpino noted, “This verdict against Mr. Goetze is an important outcome which illustrates how we seek justice whenever there is a threat to a public figure or any residents of Westchester. Threatening messages will always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let anyone who might make such threats know we will go after them. We commend Greenburgh Police on their investigation and maintaining the safety of the Town. We hope the Feiner family can now rest easier.”
In August 2017, Greenburgh Police investigated three threatening emails sent anonymously to Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. The emails were prompted by a controversy regarding a confederate monument at a private cemetery. The content of the three emails was identical, but each contained a different subject line: “Human Rights Education;” “Letter to the Ugly Dumb Jew;” and “Letter to the Parasite.” Among other things the writer used profanities and directed numerous Anti-Semitic slurs to Mr. Feiner. The final sentence bore this threat: “You better run and hide you stupid f–king jew (sic). We are coming for you and your family,” signed by “Anti-Zionist.” Although the emails did not have the defendant’s name, an investigation led to Timothy Goetze as the sender.
In court, the defendant’s sole defense was on First Amendment/free speech grounds. The Court ruled against that theory, stating that the emails were not mainly political statements; rather the content was largely a personal attack on Supervisor Feiner and his family and constituted a “true threat.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Shameika Mathurin of the White Plains Branch and Laura Forbes of the Investigations Division of the DA’s Office.