Thursday, January 31, 2019
Two Hasidic men were attacked within minutes of each other in Crown Heights on Wednesday, putting the Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish community on alert amid a reported increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the city.
According to police, the attacks occurred on President Street near Albany Avenue just after 1 a.m. In the first incident, a 51-year-old Hasidic man says that he was approached by three men, who punched, kicked and attempted to rob him. The man suffered a swollen lip and cuts to his face, and was hospitalized at NYU Langone, police said.
Fifteen minutes later, a 22-year-old victim, who identified himself to the Post as Mendel, says he was walking home "when suddenly, from behind me out of nowhere, I just got punched in the face really, really hard." Police said the assailants attempted to remove the victim's property as well, though Mendel later denied that. "It was just an attack of hate and anti-Semitism," he told the tabloid. "I guess 'cause I look identifiably Jewish."
On Thursday, the NYPD said that they arrested and charged three men with hate crimes for their roles in the assaults—18-year-old Navar Walters, 20-year-old Teshon Bannister, and 20-year-old Joshua Peters. Bannister and Walters also received criminal mischief charges.
Reported hate crimes against Jewish people more than doubled in New York City last year, and there have been reports of 15 anti-Semitic incidents in the first three weeks of this year.
"The increased reports of swastikas and other criminal mischief here in the five boroughs absolutely concerns us," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said during a police briefing last year, adding that the "current atmosphere" is at least partially to blame.
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