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August 12, 2019 1:48 pm

Three Men Attacked On Their Way to Synagogue, As Renewed Spate of Assaults Targets Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn

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avatar by David Gerstman

Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg are increasingly victims of hate crime. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

The Hate Crimes Unit of the New York City Police Department confirmed on Monday that it was investigating three assaults on orthodox Jewish men that took place earlier in the day.

The three men were attacked early on Monday morning by unknown assailants in Brooklyn while making their way to synagogue services. Several similar incidents have been reported in recent months, with assailants targeting the increasingly fearful orthodox Jewish communities in the borough.

The men–– aged 71, 67, and 56 —  were separately assaulted in the Williamsburg section. In all three cases, the men were punched in the face, ordered to give the attackers their money, and then had their pockets searched.

Two of the men were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center. The third man refused medical treatment.

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The teenage attackers are still being sought. Video of the alleged assailants released by the Williamsburg Shomrim — a community security organization — showed up to four young black men gathering at a pedestrian crossing.

The NYPD Chief of Detectives, Dermot Shea, urged anyone with information on Monday’s attacks to come forward.

The string of assaults in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn came on the heels of what is being treated as an antisemitic assault on Friday night in Crown Heights for which one man was arrested and charged with a hate crime.

According to NBC 4, Kenya Dean reportedly started arguing with a 26-year-old Chassidic man about 7 PM on Friday. Subsequently, Dean broke a glass bottle, made antisemitic remarks, and sprayed an unknown substance on the victim, causing him pain.

Dean was also accused of striking a 62-year-old witness to the attack, causing minor injuries.

The police charged Dean with harassment, hate-crime assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Monday praising the NYPD for “swiftly apprehending” the suspect in the two Friday night assaults.

The statement noted that “in 2018, ADL recorded a 55% increase in anti-Semitic assaults in New York, relative to 2017.”

“We are deeply disturbed by this alleged anti-Semitic assault in Brooklyn Friday evening,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL NY/NJ Regional Director. “The severity of this incident, which involved hurling anti-Semitic insults and subsequently attacking worshippers with pepper spray and a stick as they were getting ready for Shabbat, is deeply shocking. We are grateful for the swift action by NYPD in apprehending the individual allegedly responsible for this attack. This assault underscores the urgent need for communities in Brooklyn to come together and stop these profoundly troubling hate incidents from happening in our city.”

Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director of The Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC), told The Algemeiner that his organization was “very appreciative to the volunteer Shemirah patrol and the NYPD for acting swiftly and apprehending the suspect” in Friday night’s assault.

“We are also encouraged that the suspect was immediately charged with assault as a hate crime and, as a result, will face more serious punishment if convicted,” Rabbi Cohen added.



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