The NYPD is searching for a man who they believe committed at least two bias attacks in Bed-Stuy earlier this month, confronting his victims and asking about their ethnicity and religion before punching them in the face.
According to police, the first attack took place shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 4th, near the corner of Gates and Marcy Avenue. Investigators told the NY Post a group of six men approached a 20-year-old man and asked "Are you Indian or Muslim?" before adding "You guys are dirty."
One member of the group punched the man in the face, and another pushed him to the ground before the attackers fled. The victim later checked himself in at Elmhurst hospital and was treated for a broken jaw, police said.
The next attack took place near the corner of Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Vernon Avenue, shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12th. NBC reports a 58-year-old man was approached by the suspected attacker, and asked if he was Muslim and from Saudi Arabia before punching him in the face and running off. The punched man was taken by EMS workers to nearby Woodhull hospital.
Video of the suspected attacker has been circulated by the NYPD.
Police describe the man as roughly 35-years-old, 160 lbs, 6'0," with black hair and brown eyes last seen wearing a black jacket hoodie. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating both attacks.
Reports of hate crime attacks across the five boroughs have risen sharply compared to last year, particularly in recent weeks since President-elect Donald Trump's narrow electoral college victory. NBC notes that since election day, the rate of reported hate crimes has spiked 115 percent compared to 2015, with 43 reported cases compared to 20 in the same time period last year.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.