New York lawyer apologises after ripping down posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas

Victoria Ruiz, a New York public defender, was criticised by her employers


A New York public lawyer has apologised after tearing down posters of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas. 

Victoria Ruiz, a New York public defender, was filmed ripping down posters with the headline ‘Kidnapped’. In the video, shared by the group StopAntisemitism on Sunday, Ruiz is seen taking the posters off a pole.

An individual filming Ruiz then repeatedly asks the lawyer: “Why are you taking down pictures of missing children?”. Ruiz appears to ignore the questioning and walks away.

StopAntisemitism said on X/Twitter: “New York County public defender Victoria Ruiz caught removing posters of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for someone with such bias and hate to serve in your office @nyc_defenders.”

New York County Defender Services, who employs Ruiz, said her actions were “highly insensitive.”

A spokeswoman for the law firm said: “It has come to our attention that one of our attorneys, Victoria Ruiz, recently attended a public vigil solely in her capacity as a private citizen.

“Some of her actions at the event have drawn sharp criticism and we strongly condemn them as highly insensitive.”

The spokeswoman said Ruiz had since apologised after an internal investigation. She added: “Ms Ruiz has apologised to those who were hurt or confused by her actions. 

“After an internal review, and a pledge by all involved to do better, we accept this apology and now refocus on the vigorous pursuit of our mission: achieving justice and dignity for every individual we represent.”

A petition has since been launched urging the firm to sack Ruiz. It was set up on Sunday and has so far got 166 signatures. 

The petition, set up by Chava Rose, reads: “This act is not only disrespectful to those suffering but also raises serious questions about her ability to provide unbiased legal services. 

“The role of a defender requires impartiality and respect for all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances. 

“By publicly displaying such biased behaviour, Ms Ruiz has shown that she may not be capable of fulfilling these duties effectively and without prejudice.”

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