BERKELEY — A 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a hate crime outside a synagogue after attempting to enter during a morning service and deliver a tirade against congregants, authorities said Wednesday.

According to arrest records and police statements, Anatoly Smolkin was arrested just before 1 p.m. Saturday after trying to enter Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Boulevard, but was prevented from entering. Smolkin was found a few blocks from the synagogue, outside Chabad House, a Jewish community center.

Officers took him into custody and booked him into jail on suspicion of wilfully threatening a person based on perceived characteristics.

“The Berkeley Police Department recognizes and places a high priority on the rights of all individuals guaranteed under state and federal law,” police said in part in a statement. “The commission of a hate crime is a serious offense, which will not be tolerated in the City of Berkeley.”

To that end, police have arrested suspects in at least a half-dozen hate crimes this year, including vandalism and burglary episodes against Jewish residents and a different synagogue in April and May, a May threat against a store employee, a May threat against an employee at a Latino-owned bakery and a July attack against an LGBTQ community member at a homeless encampment.

Smolkin, a disbarred attorney, was not in jail custody Wednesday and had not yet been charged with any crime by the Alameda County district attorney’s office, according to records checks.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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