Skip to main content
Press Release

Bronx Man Charged With Defacing African Burial Ground National Monument With Threatening Racial Slur

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that IVAN NIEVES has been charged with vandalism and disorderly conduct. NIEVES was arrested this morning and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in Manhattan later this afternoon.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The protections of the First Amendment allow all Americans to express their opinions without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. However, those protections do not apply when you deface federal property in the name of hate. Today’s arrest of Ivan Nieves for allegedly defacing the African Burial Ground National Monument aptly demonstrates the sanctity of those protections; and that those who do not follow the law while expressing their freedom of speech will be charged with federal crimes.”

As alleged in the Information,[1] on or about November 1, 2018, NIEVES defaced a sign on the grounds of the African Burial Ground National Monument by writing a threatening racial slur on it. 

*                *                *

NIEVES, 57, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of vandalism and one count of disorderly conduct.  Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Regional Office of the Federal Protective Service, the New York Field Office of the United States Park Police, and the New York City Police Department.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Jacob R. Fiddelman is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Information are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Information and the descriptions of the Information constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated November 20, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-408