Borough Park protests: Protests continue after activist Heshy Tischler charged in attack on reporter

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
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Josh Einiger has the latest in the ongoing protests and backlash caused by New York's new COVID restrictions.

BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Activist Harold "Heshy" Tischler was released from police custody late Monday night after he was arrested and charged in the alleged attack of an Orthodox Jewish reporter during a demonstration protesting new restrictions in some neighborhoods of New York City.

The NYPD said Tischler was taken into custody Sunday. He has been charged with inciting to riot and unlawful imprisonment, stemming from an attack on the journalist by protesters from last week.

Police say he urged a crowd to attack journalist Jacob Kornbluh last week as he was covering a protest.

Tischler somehow tweeted saying they're, "Keeping me here for the night and delayed my processing of the paperwork by the mayor and DA. Political stunt."

He was released following an arraignment on Monday.

Tischler's lawyer struggled to move his client through hordes of cameras without incriminating him.

In total, Tischler has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, inciting to riot, menacing and harrassment.

His lawyers spoke to reporters before his court appearance and said he is not guilty.

"All across New York City, there's been rioting and looting here there was a non-violent gathering in the Jewish community over the holiday and he was singled out," said attorney Mindy Meyer.

"He's not guilty, there's a lot of facts that are going to come out in the case," said attorney Sara Shulevitz. "He's an older man he has health issues we're concerned about COVID, we're going to get him out ASAP," Shulevitz said.

Tischler didn't seem all that worried about COVID last week as he paraded through Borough Park, the city's hottest hot spot, without a mask.

He vowed to defy the governor's designation of large swaths of Brooklyn and Queens as so-called red zones.

Many in the Hasidic community say they're being scapegoated for the rise in COVID positivity.

The governor and mayor are vowing to stay the course, saying it is possible to knock down the virus before they lose control all over again.

Cuomo says they brought it on themselves.

"They're not annoyed at the red zone regulations, they're annoyed at the initial closedown regulation, seven months ago, that they never followed, that's what has happened here," Cuomo said.

On Monday, Cuomo pointed out that even the spike in numbers in places like Borough Park pale in comparison to statewide numbers in most other states.

It's the effort to keep New York's number low that has led to the red zone approach.

Protesters carrying President Trump's campaign flag have been pushing back against the new restrictions that took effect in communities experiencing a spike in COVID clusters.

"He's a liar and he's a rat and we came to make sure if Heshy can't sleep, Jacob's not sleeping either," a protester said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called for more precision in enforcement, so as to not punish the large parts of the community that are following public health guidelines.

RELATED | New map highlights the new zones

The city tweeted that it issued 62 summonses from Friday to Sunday, totaling more than $150,000 in fines. Of those summonses, five were to non-compliant religious congregations.

Houses of worship in the red zone are limited to gatherings of 10 people.

You can find your zone at NYC.gov/covidzone.

Over the weekend, A federal judge shot down a lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Diocese, accusing the state of infringing on its rights.

"Several religious communities have said, they don't want to comply with the rules. I understand it, that's what I say is an unfortunate situation. We want to have religious ceremonies, I understand. Do you want people to die is my question," Cuomo said.

ALSO READ: Frustration over closed parks causes protesters to cut locks to Brooklyn playground

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