Police are still piecing together the details surrounding the alleged beating of a 22-year-old fashion student at the hands of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish mob. NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said yesterday that the group of men who attacked New York City College of Technology student Taj Patterson on Dec. 1st were all wearing similar uniforms, according to eye witnesses. “A group with some sort of uniform jacket with a logo may have been involved,” Kelly said.
“The majority of them [were] wearing a jacket with three letters,” said MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys, who pulled over and intervened when she saw the attack happening. “I know the first letter is an ‘S.’ Under those three letters there was a word that started with an ‘S.’” The News speculates the uniforms may signify the Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group that patrols the area. “They were wearing emblems,” another witness told the News, who wished not to be named. “One was wearing a shield on his shirt. It was definitely a police force.”
"I’m walking down some block by myself and then the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a group of Hasidic Jewish men and they’re attacking me,” Patterson, who sustained a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles, said about the attack. “I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons."
According to the police report, Patterson was “highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent," and the Post reported that he couldn't make a coherent statement that morning.
Assemblymen Dov Hikind, who has repeatedly condemned the so-called "knockout game" attacks on his Jewish constituents, concedes that "something obviously happened" to Patterson, said the assault "sounds so out of character" for ultra-Orthodox Jews, and called the allegations "bizarre."
Council Member Stephen Levin gave a statement to YWN that was more straightforward:
I am thoroughly shocked and deeply troubled by this appalling attack. Acts like this have no place in our society and our community will not tolerate them. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating this crime and I have full faith and confidence that they will pursue every possible lead to ensure that justice is done, and I will do everything I can to assist them.