Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Cops say they used ruse to get video evidence of gay black man's beating at hands of Orthodox Jewish men
Brooklyn investigators assigned to an alleged gang assault that led to a gay African-American man's blindness had to "put on a ruse" to get crucial evidence, according to trial testimony.
"Many of the residents were being uncooperative," said NYPD Detective Eric Sanchez, who worked on the Williamsburg crime scene where Taj Patterson was allegedly beaten by over two dozen Orthodox Jewish men on Dec. 1, 2013.
As investigators came to a standstill with retrieving video footage from neighbors on Flushing Ave., a Jewish officer had to pretend to be a victim of a robbery looking for evidence to help with the case, said Sanchez.
Sanchez was assigned to the case five days after the initial investigation was abruptly closed by a sergeant in the 90th Precinct.
"We were then able to get the videos," Sanchez said in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Tuesday during Mayer Herskovic's trial.
Herskovic faces up to 25 years in prison for his participation in the brutal beating of Patterson. DNA evidence of Herskovic was found on the heel of Patterson's sneaker, which was hurled to the roof of a building after MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys intervened along with another passerby.
Keys' route on the B57 was interrupted around 4:42 a.m. as several double parked cars blocked Flushing Ave.
"I stood in the doorway (of the bus), their backs were to me and I heard one of the Hasidic Jewish men tell a (Spanish) man to go away. He said, 'No, I'm not going to let you hurt him,'" said Keys.
Keys — who was blocked from seeing the alleged beatdown — tried to take pictures with her cellphone as the group, some in Shomrim jackets, dispersed, but panicked, she said.
"I walked up to the victim laying on the ground. His eye was swollen shut — couldn't see his eyeball. He said, 'I can't see. I can't breathe'... He was in pain, agony," said Keys.
Patterson, 25, was taken to the hospital, underwent three surgeries and is permanently blind in his right eye.
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