Saturday, September 24, 2016
A Hasidic man was convicted of gang assault on Friday for taking part in a vicious attack on a gay black man in Brooklyn.
Mayer Herskovic, 23, faces up to 15 years behind bars for the brutal Dec. 1, 2013, assault in Williamsburg that left Taj Patterson blind in one eye.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun convicted Herskovic of three charges after the nonjury trial — gang assault in the second degree, unlawful imprisonment and menacing.
He found Herskovic not guilty of the top charge, gang assault in the first degree, which carries a maximum of 25 years.
Witnesses said at least 20 Orthodox men tied to a Jewish security patrol attacked Patterson as he was walking home to Fort Greene from a friend’s birthday party.
The men kicked, punched and dragged Patterson, and threw one of his shoes on a nearby roof.
The shoe wound up doing Herskovic in — his DNA was found on the heel of Patterson’s Nike Air Jordan sneaker.
Patterson, 25, underwent three surgeries after the attack and is now permanently blind in his right eye.
He told the Daily News shortly after the attack that he was an “easy target” for the gang, some of whom were members of a volunteer safety patrol group.
“I’m walking down some block by myself and then the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a group of Hasidic Jewish men and they’re attacking me,” Patterson said.
He said the men told him to “stay down” and used an anti-gay slur.
Patterson, who was attending the City College of Technology, said he wasn’t sure why he was attacked.
“I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons,” he said.
Herskovic was the last of five men charged in the gang assault case. Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and were sentenced to perform 150 hours community service in a culturally diverse community. Charges against Aaron Hollender and Joseph Fried were dismissed.
The News has reported that cops at the 90th Precinct station house prematurely closed the case despite having four witnesses to the assault — delaying the investigation for 48 crucial hours and leading to problems prosecuting the case.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said the judge’s verdict is “a testament to our determination to fully prosecute this case based on the evidence, which clearly connected this defendant to the crime. I hope that this outcome will bring a measure of comfort to Mr. Patterson and his family.”
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