Suspect in Brooklyn attack on Orthodox Jew arrested, charged with hate crime
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Suspect in Brooklyn attack on Orthodox Jew arrested, charged with hate crime

Eric Gerena also accused of third-degree assault for punching man outside synagogue; police say he didn’t yell anti-Semitic slurs

Man hits Jewish man in Williamsburg, November 30, 2018 (Screen grab via NBC New York)
Man hits Jewish man in Williamsburg, November 30, 2018 (Screen grab via NBC New York)

New York police have arrested a man alleged to have punched an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in the head and charged him with a hate crime.

In addition to the hate crime charge, Eric Gerena, 32, who was arrested on Tuesday, was charged with assault in the third degree.

The attack on Friday night targeted a Hasidic man who was wearing a streimel, a traditional fur hat, and talking with a group of similarly dressed men outside of a synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Gerena has a rap sheet, but it includes no prior hate crimes, police told the New York Post.

The man did not use any anti-Semitic slurs or racial epithets during the attack, which was captured on surveillance video.

Police said the attacker yelled “Blah!” as he ran up to the 32-year-old man on Throop Avenue.

The brutal attack came days after two Orthodox Jewish boys were attacked in Brooklyn in one day.

A passerby repeatedly punched a 9-year-old in the face on Sunday evening in Williamsburg, police told the New York Post. The boy was walking with his mother when the attack occurred in the heavily Hasidic area.

Half an hour later, a 12-year-old boy was attacked by four or five males about a block away from the previous incident. The men pushed him to the ground and punched him, authorities told the Post.

In both incidents the attackers fled, and neither of the boys required medical attention. Both incidents were being investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

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