New York public defender quits after being caught tearing down posters of Israeli hostages

New York County public defender  Victoria Ruiz seen on video removing posters of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists (@StopAntisemites/Twitter)
New York County public defender Victoria Ruiz seen on video removing posters of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists (@StopAntisemites/Twitter)

A New York public defender resigned after a video went viral of her ripping down posters of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas.

The New York County Defender Services told Fox News Digital that Victoria Ruiz, 36, had resigned “effective immediately.”

The viral clip, posted on the X social media platform by the group StopAntisemitism, showed Ms Ruiz tearing down a “kidnapped” poster featuring pictures of those kidnapped in Israel on 7 October.

“Why are you taking down pictures of missing children?” someone can be heard asking Ms Ruiz. She did not respond.

“New York County public defender Victoria Ruiz caught removing posters of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists,” the group posted on X on 5 November. “It is absolutely unacceptable for someone with such bias and hate to serve in your office @nyc_defenders.”

The Independent has reached out to New York County Defender Services. The firm described Ms Ruiz’s behaviour to The Jewish Chronicle as “highly insensitive.”

“Ms Ruiz has apologised to those who were hurt or confused by her actions,” a spokesperson told the outlet. “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.”

Ms Ruiz’s resignation comes after a petition garnered over 2,300 signatures calling for her to step down.

“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 behavior, Ms Ruiz has shown that she may not be capable of fulfilling these duties effectively and without prejudice,” the 5 November petition wrote.

More than 240 people — including grandparents, babies, soldiers — were kidnapped from their homes on 7 October. Hamas has since released two elderly Israeli women and two Americans.

Thousands have been killed since the war’s outset, with no sign of stopping.

On Tuesday, Hamas said it was prepared to release 12 foreign nationals, but was unable to due to Israel’s airstrikes and ground operation, Axios reported.

Last week, President Joe Biden called for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting, and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously rejected mounting calls for a ceasefire, but in a Monday ABC News interview, appeared more open to consider “tactical little pauses.”