Brooklyn man charged with hate crime for assault on rabbi
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Brooklyn man charged with hate crime for assault on rabbi

Lawyer for suspect Oniel Gilbourne denies violent attack on Abraham Gopin stemmed from anti-Semitic motive

In late August 2019, a 64-year-old Hasidic resident of Brooklyn was bloodied with this brick in an attack being investigated by police as a hate crime. (Screenshots from Twitter)
In late August 2019, a 64-year-old Hasidic resident of Brooklyn was bloodied with this brick in an attack being investigated by police as a hate crime. (Screenshots from Twitter)

Police have arrested a man accused of beating a rabbi with a large rock in Brooklyn last month.

Oniel Gilbourne, 26, was arrested on Thursday. He faces charges of assault as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon, PIX11 reported.

At an arraignment hearing Friday, Gilbourne’s lawyer denied the assault was a hate crime and said his client is mentally ill.

“Nothing makes it a hate crime. There is nothing indicating the cause of the assault (was) motivated by prejudice in any way — apart from how the person looked,” Laurie Guthrie told the Brooklyn Criminal Court, according to the New York Daily News.

The judge ordered Gilbourne be held on $30,000 bail and keep away from the victim.

Abraham Gopin, 64, a father of 10 and grandfather, was attacked on the morning of August 27 while jogging in Lincoln Terrace Park.

The assailant allegedly yelled an anti-Jewish slur at him and threw a rock in his direction, but missed. Gopin then confronted the rock-thrower, who started punching him, and then hit him square in the face with a paving stone. He lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose, according to reports.

Gopin, who is identifiably Jewish with a long beard and a kippa on his head, has told several New York-based news outlets that he thought the assailant wanted to kill him.

Attacks against Jews in the area have been on the rise.

As of August 25, New York police were investigating 145 anti-Semitic crimes, most of them in Brooklyn, compared to 88 from the same time period last year, the New York Daily News reported.

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