NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigating two possible anti-Jewish bias incidents in Brooklyn

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 24, 2021
Police investigating two possible anti-Jewish bias incidents in NYC
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating two anti-Jewish bias incidents that happened in Brooklyn that may be connected.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating two anti-Jewish bias incidents that happened in Brooklyn that may be connected.

The first incident took place in front of a synagogue in Borough Park around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Three males inside a blue Toyota Camry parked outside the synagogue yelled anti-Jewish statements, according to authorities.

Police say they yelled "Free Palestine! Kill all Jews!" at four male victims standing outside the location.

The four victims then entered the synagogue and locked the door, at which point two of the males exited the Toyota Camry and began to bang on the front door of the synagogue.

They were unable to get inside.

On the way back to their vehicle, police say they kicked and destroyed the side mirror of a car parked near the synagogue.

They then got back into the Camry and drove off. Police released images of the males they are looking for:

New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein tweeted about the situation.

Not too long after, a second possible bias incident happened on Ocean Parkway in Kensington.

Police say a 17-year-old and 18-year-old male were approached by two unidentified males that demanded the victims make anti-Jewish statements.

Authorities say the suspects physically assaulted the teens, punching them on the head and placing them in a chokehold.

The victims were able to run away as they were being chased with baseball bats, according to police.

A blue Camry had fled the scene.

The victims walked into the 66 Precinct and were treated by EMS there

Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind commented on the attack.

The incidents and other reports of harassment of Jewish New Yorkers stoked fears of anti-Semitic violence linked to the 11-day war between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

More than two dozen people were arrested on charges including hate crime assault after pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators clashed in Times Square on Thursday.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he predicts arrests will be made "in the next few days."

"I won't speak for the NYPD, but having been thoroughly briefed, I'd say you will see arrest in the next few days," he said. "The pattern has been very clear, with hate crimes and with all crimes. NYPD has had a remarkable track record in recent years finding suspects in crimes. There's a lot more resources available than there used to be. I'm very confident about that. We will keep the presence there as long as it is needed. I certainly expect to have a lot of presence over Shabbos coming up, we want to make sure people are safe. We want to stop this pattern dead in its tracks, show that anti-Semitism will not be accepted."

De Blasio also met with community leaders Sunday inside the 66 Precinct to discuss the incidents.

He assured Orthodox leaders that anyone committing hate crimes would be arrested and prosecuted.

"The perpetrators of these incidents will be found," de Blasio said. "We've talked about it in detail. They will be found. They will be prosecuted. They will suffer the consequences."

Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said he will "take ownership of that."

We had a meeting with each one of our borough chiefs to make sure the presence was there," Harrison said. "Misunderstanding is if you have to take officers from other places to make sure that's covered, then do as such. That's where the mistake was made. We are correcting it, and you will see a big difference going into the future."

Harrison also promised beefed up policing of Orthodox neighborhoods.

"If you choose to commit a hate crime in this city, my detectives will catch you," said Harrison, who joined the mayor on Sunday. "We will bring you into custody and hold you accountable."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

RELATED: 'This shouldn't happen to anyone': Victim in anti-Semitic assault speaks out

CeFaan Kim has more on the aftermath of a clash between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protestors in Times Square.


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