Police are looking for a group of suspects who attacked at least two orthodox Jewish men in Crown Heights during Hanukkah last week.
The first incident happened around 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24th, the third night of Hanukkah. Cops say a 56-year-old Hasidic Jewish man was walking on Union Street between Albany Avenue and Kingston Avenue when a group of men, who appear to be teens, approached him from behind. One of the suspects punched the victim in the back of the head, knocking him down to the ground. Another one of them recorded the incident on his phone. The suspects then fled on foot.
In the second incident, which occurred just before 6 p.m. in the same area. A 23-year-old Hasidic Jewish man was walking on the sidewalk at Albany Avenue and Lincoln Place when the same group approached him. Police say one suspect struck the victim in the head with a chair and punched him in the face. Another one, who you can see in the video below, menaced the victim with a stick. The suspects fled on foot east on Union Street.
These incidents were among the series of anti-Semitic attacks that prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce last week that the NYPD would increase their presence in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park.
A local activist told the Post that one of the victims initially was reluctant to come forward about the attack because he was afraid of reprisals from the suspects: “He believes the justice system is so messed up he is not putting his name on file,” Yaacov Behrman, the founder of the Jewish Future Alliance, told them. “What do you tell someone like that?...Chances are his fears are legitimate because they are not going to hold the suspect.”
The Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident. Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these individuals is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or on Twitter.
Following more than a dozen anti-Semitic incidents in the region this past month, including the deadly shooting at a Jersey City kosher market and a stabbing at a Hannukkah celebration at a rabbi's home in Rockland County, elected officials in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox communities called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to deploy the National Guard and more state police to patrol the borough earlier this week.