Wednesday, September 07, 2016
A 911 call from a panicked bystander revealed the life-and-death horror being played out on a Brooklyn street as a gay, black men was beaten to within inches of his life by members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood security patrol.
"There's a fight going on," says the unnamed woman, her voice unsteady as she calls in the 4:30 a.m. attack on Taj Patterson. Her call was played Tuesday in the Brooklyn Supreme Court trial of Mayer Herskovic, a member of the Satmar neighborhood watch group Shomrim.
Herskovic and Justice Danny Chun listened intently as prosecutors played the recordings from two calls placed during the Dec. 2013 attack on Patterson, which left him permanently blind in one eye.
"There's a bunch of Jewish guys beating up a black kid, I don't want to go back there because there are too many of them," the woman says, identifying the bloody scene as Warsoff Place and Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg.
She goes on to admit she was too frightened to let Patterson in her car to get him away from the brutal gang beating.
"There was like 20 Jewish men, and one black kid," the harried woman says. "He came up to the car for help, but there were so many of them and they were telling us not to let him in the car.
"I didn't see any weapons, but it didn't look good. He was begging for a ride, but I didn't want to put him in my car," the caller continues. Asked if any weapons were involved, she says, "It looked like one of the guys was using a phone to hit him."
"He was drooling and stuff," she describes of the badly beaten Patterson.
Prosecutors played one more short recording of a more garbled call, placed shortly after the first.
"Open the door bro, open the door," a male voice, which prosecutors have identified as Patterson, could be heard yelling in the background.
"Hello…hello…hello?" the operator asks as indiscernible conversation plays out on the other end for another minute, until the line goes dead.
"Sheesh," the operator snipes before hanging up.
Patterson's mom held her hands to her chest, her face contorted in grief as she listened to the recordings.
On the opposite side of the gallery, Herskovic's wife's face was set in stone.
Prosecutors did not identify the voice as her son's, but Patterson testified on Aug. 31 that he'd pleaded with passing drivers for help.
Herskovic faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of gang assault as a hate crime.
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