‘It’s hurtful’: Pittsford neighbor expresses shock at Cornell student’s anti-Semitic threat charges

Neighbor reacts to Patrick Dai’s arrest

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Patrick Dai is the Cornell University junior accused of posting violent threats against Jewish people on campus. He’s in jail, being held without bail after appearing in federal court Wednesday in Syracuse.

A neighbor in Pittsford, where Dai is from, said this is disheartening.

Dai has been suspended from Cornell, where university officials say they will not tolerate anti-Semitism, racism or any other form of hatred. Pittsford neighbors News10NBC spoke with say there’s no room for hate in their neighborhood either.

The family’s Pittsford neighborhood is lined with modern homes and a diverse group of families. Janine Fried has lived year for 18 years. She says she heard disturbing news of a Cornell student arrested on Tuesday due to threats targeting Jewish people, but she had no idea he lived just doors away from her.

“I had heard about the anti-Semitic activities at Cornell, and when I came home last night and my husband told me he is from this neighborhood, I was shocked,” Fried said.

Shocked, and saddened. Dai, 21, is a junior at Cornell. He’s accused of posting violently threatening statements against Jewish people on a Greek life forum. Investigators say the messages were graphic and anti-Semitic, and traced them to Dai through an IP arrest. Dai admitted to law enforcement in a videotaped interview that he posted the threatening messages.

Fried said this is a friendly, welcoming neighborhood and can’t wrap her heard around why someone would want to cause such harm to people.

“Things like that don’t happen here. It’s a very quiet neighborhood. And I was just disheartened that a young man, you know, that lives here would have taken those actions,” she said.

Among the comments posted on the Greek Life fraternity and sorority website were threats to stab and slit the throats of Jewish men and to bring a rifle to campus and shoot Jewish people.

Fried said this is not only disturbing, but heartbreaking.

“It’s hurtful. You kind of — in a community where you feel like you’re safe and you realize there are people around you that feel that way. I don’t know, it’s just a lack of a feeling of safety and security and confidence in your community,” she said.

News10NBC’s Marsha Augustin tried to speak with Dai’s mother, but she didn’t want to comment.

Dai waived his bail hearing Wednesday. He has been assigned a federal public defender and is due back in court Nov. 15.