by Steven Ertelt
August 8, 2006
Piermont, NY (LifeNews.com) — A New York business owner is upset that local officials haven’t launched a hate crimes investigation into pro-abortion vandalism of his business. Richard Bruno, who runs Chimney Fireplace Specialist, has had pro-life signs taken down from his storefront window or vandalized repeatedly over the last few months.
Bruno wants local law enforcement to begin a hate crimes investigation and says he is being targeted because of his religious beliefs and pro-life views.
Bruno says he wants Rockland County District Attorney Michael Bongiorno to check into several incidents where abortion advocates vandalized the posters, which also included some of the late Pope John Paul II.
"I want him to investigate it and determine, if in fact it is a hate crime," Bruno told the Rockland Journal News. "I think it’s a very sad state of affairs when Roman Catholics aren’t treated equally and protected by our laws equally."
Bruno told the newspaper that if the vandalism was investigated as a hate crime it may stop it and prevent other similar incidents from occurring.
"I would use the comparison of a swastika being placed in the storefront of a Jewish merchant or even an obscene or denigrating remark being placed in the storefront of an Afro-American merchant," Bruno told the Journal News. "I believe in both of those instances, they would be expeditiously and vigorously investigated."
Bongiorno, who is Catholic, told the newspaper that his office is indeed looking into the vandalism, and said that any allegation otherwise is "ludicrous."
"This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with evidence," Bongiorno told the Journal News last week. "Hate crimes are very difficult to prove."
He said the evidence would have to show that hate was the motivation for the vandalism, which is difficult to prove.
Bruno’s signs have been an issue before as he posted others that displayed graphic pictures of abortions or attacked political candidates. He has run for political office on the Right to Life Party line previously and his store was the campaign headquarters for the party for awhile.