Man charged with hate crimes for attack on Jew in Brooklyn last month

New York police announce arrest of Othman Suleiman for allegedly punching Jewish college student, calling him a ‘dirty Jew’

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

The suspect in a hate crime against a Jewish man in Brooklyn in footage released by the NYPD. (Screenshot)
The suspect in a hate crime against a Jewish man in Brooklyn in footage released by the NYPD. (Screenshot)

NEW YORK — The NYPD arrested a man and charged him with hate crimes on Tuesday for an attack on a Jewish man in Brooklyn last month.

The police’s Hate Crime Task Force said it charged Othman Suleiman with third degree assault and aggravated assault, and listed both charges as suspected hate crimes.

Suleiman is 27 and a resident of Staten Island, the NYPD statement said.

Suleiman is accused of attacking the Jewish man outside of a sneaker store in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn on December 26.

The accuser, Blake Zavadsky, said Suleiman confronted him because he was wearing an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt.

The attacker “didn’t like it, told me I had five seconds to take it off and then he called us dirty Jews and punched me in the face twice,” Zavadsky said.

Zavadsky was with another Jewish friend, Ilan Kaganovich, at the time of the attack. Both are 21 years old and in college.

Following the attack, Zavadsky and Kaganovich reached out to New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who organized a protest against antisemitism in her Brooklyn district. Vernikov, a Republican, is also Jewish.

Ilan Kaganovich, left, and Blake Zavadsky at a protest against antisemitism in New York City, January 2, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Later Tuesday, Vernikov said Suleiman had been released on $1,000 bail. She said she was “disgusted” with the decision in a post that showed her outside the courthouse with Zavadsky and Kaganovich.

Jews were the most targeted group for hate crimes in New York City last year. The NYPD’s hate crimes dashboard reported 144 confirmed attacks against Jews between January and October 2021, out of 416 total hate crimes in the city. Attacks on Jews accounted for 35% of all hate crimes, the largest proportion of any group.

The FBI’s 2020 Hate Crime Statistics report showed that antisemitic hate crimes were 57% of all religious crimes.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has repeatedly denounced antisemitism and announced funding and other actions to fight antisemitism.

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