Police searching for suspect who hurled antisemitic insults, pushed man in Central Park

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Friday, December 16, 2022
Suspect wanted in brutal antisemitic attack in Central Park
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A 63-year-old man was walking in Central Park when a suspect made antisemitic insults and pushed the victim from behind. Josh Einiger has the details.

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police are looking for the suspect in another brutal antisemitic attack in New York City, this time in Central Park.

The incident happened on Wednesday around 7:30 p.m.

Police say the 63-year-old male victim was walking in Central Park, near the intersection of Terrace Drive and East Drive, when a man struck the victim from behind, causing him to fall to the ground.

The fall caused the victim to chip a tooth and break a hand.

Authorities said the suspect spewed antisemitic remarks and made a reference to Kanye West before attacking the victim and fleeing westbound on 72nd Street on a bicycle and a bicycle trailer, which appeared to be carrying various items including a sign that read "Hungry Disabled."

RELATED: Eyewitness News is tracking crime and safety across New York City and in your neighborhood

The victim was taken to a local hospital in stable condition.

Experts say the fact the assailant mentioned the rapper Kanye West is just more evidence of the hate-filled echo chamber on social media, fueled by West's recent avalanche of antisemitic tropes.

"Cases like celebrities and sports figures who make statements, this is something that's being carried out by someone with a huge following and when that happens people copy it," said Scott Richman of the Anti-Defamation League. "People begin to think that is normal."

Just a few weeks ago, New York Jewish organizations foiled a plot to attack a synagogue.

Just a few days from now, Hanukkah will begin, which is why Jews in New York City are on edge.

Upper East Side Rabbi Yosef Wilhelm says that congregants, especially younger ones, are more scared than ever, just of walking across the park. He's helped organize self-defense classes, but at the same time, counsels strength and pride.

"First of all, protect yourself, yes, but stand strong. Don't cower away, don't hide," Wilhelm said. "They're attacking us because we're ambassadors of holiness and God in this world, and our job is to fight even stronger by bringing more light to the world, more good in the world, more holiness and being better ambassadors of good and God in this world."

Police describe the suspect as approximately in his 40's, with a medium build, and was last seen wearing a brown jacket, beige pants, white sneakers, and a multi-colored hat.

They were able to track the suspect's movements all the way down to Washington Square Park in the Village, but they have not yet been able to identify him.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.

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