‘Shocked at the viciousness’: Six assailants beat Jewish man on New York City street

Police investigating assault in Brooklyn as a hate crime, make one arrest; ADL offers $10,000 reward for information; governor ‘outraged,’ as antisemitic attacks surge

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

A group that allegedly assaulted a Jewish man in New York City on April 1, 2022, in footage released by the New York Police Department. (Screenshot)
A group that allegedly assaulted a Jewish man in New York City on April 1, 2022, in footage released by the New York Police Department. (Screenshot)

NEW YORK — A group of assailants beat a Jewish man on a New York City street on Friday night, the latest in a string of attacks on Jews in the area.

Six males repeatedly punched and kicked the Hasidic Jewish man in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, causing him minor injuries, according to police and neighborhood groups.

Police are investigating the case as a hate crime and have made one arrest.

There were no “prior words of provocation” between the 21-year-old victim and assailants ahead of the beating, police said.

The New York Police Department released a blurry video of the attack, which appeared to show the group striking the victim and shoving him against the side of the truck, where he collapsed, and the beating continued.

The police also released a video showing the group that allegedly carried out the attack, offered a $3,500 reward for information, and said detectives had arrested a 16-year-old and charged him with gang assault and assault as a hate crime.

The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, a leading community group in the neighborhood, called the incident a “disturbing hate fueled attack.”

It said that after the assault, the group of assailants carjacked an Uber driver.

The attack took place on the neighborhood’s Gerry Street, near Harrison Avenue, at 7:55 p.m. on Friday night. Attacks on Jews in the neighborhood often take place on Friday nights, when religious Jews do not carry cell phones, making it more difficult to report crimes. Williamsburg is the home base of the large, tightly-knit Satmar Hasidic community.

The Anti-Defamation League offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

“We are shocked at the viciousness of the images of this incident,” said the ADL’s regional director Scott Richman. “Nobody should be subjected to hateful violence on the streets of New York.”

“We deserve a safer and more accepting city for all New Yorkers,” he said.

The Shomrim neighborhood defense group in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, September 15, 2021. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Sunday that she was “outraged by this act of violence against a Jewish New Yorker. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

She said she was directing the state police’s Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation. Hochul has repeatedly spoken out against antisemitism in New York and taken action against anti-Jewish crimes.

New York City Congressman Ritchie Torres, a staunch supporter of the Jewish community and Israel, on Saturday called the rash of antisemitic crimes “a moral stain on the soul of our city.”

Progressive New York City Congressman Jamaal Bowman said, “Antisemitism is dangerous and is the root cause of disturbing attacks like this.”

In a separate incident, a group of six Jewish boys in the 8th and 9th grades were threatened on the Upper West Side on Saturday, local city council member Gale Brewer said.

She said police had responded the case, and her office had referred the incident to the police’s hate crimes unit.

The mother of one of the boys said a group had targeted the Jewish youths and “taunted” them with knives and crowbars because they were Jewish.

Police figures showed 81 antisemitic hate crimes in New York City so far this year, marking an increase of over 300% over the same period last year.

The antisemitic incidents include assaults on city streets against visibly identifiable Jews, racist graffiti, property damage, and verbal abuse.

Jews are targeted in hate crimes more than any other group in New York City, by far, year after year. Anti-Jewish attacks accounted for 38 percent of all confirmed hate crimes in New York City last year, according to NYPD statistics.

In February, there were 56 hate crimes against Jews, compared with 11 during the same month last year. Hate crimes in New York City as a whole climbed by 100% last year, and other types of crime have also been on the rise.

Hate crimes usually do not lead to arrests in New York. The 198 confirmed hate crimes against Jews in New York last year only resulted in 58 arrests.

Last week, hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted “Globalize the intifada” during a march through Manhattan that stopped at the offices of several Jewish organizations, in what many Jewish and Israel advocates interpreted as alluding to violence against Jews.

The protesters, who called for Israel’s complete dismantlement, say they are targeting the Jewish state, not Jewish people. The event came as Israel grapples with a wave of deadly terrorism that has killed 11 people.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed