Victim in alleged 'neo-Nazis' beating outside Manhattan bar speaks out

Sandra Bookman Image
Monday, February 13, 2017
Graduate student attacked outside of Manhattan bar because of sticker on his phone denouncing fascism
Sandra Bookman has the story.

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- One of the victims of a vicious beating is speaking out after an attack outside a Manhattan bar.

The graduate student said he was with his twin brother at the time and believes the whole ordeal started because of a sticker on his cell phone denouncing fascism.

The alleged victims told police they were attacked as they left Clockwork, a popular punk dive bar on Essex Street on the Lower East Side. They said they were initially inside the bar but decided to leave because they were uncomfortable around some of the other patrons, claiming several of them were wearing patches and insignia that appeared to identify them as part of the skinhead or Nationalist movement.

And they supposedly got upset when they noticed the sticker on one of the brother's phones.

"So he rips the phone out of my brother's hand," said one of the victims, who did not wish to be identified.

He described the assault as six or seven men punching and kicking them, even using a brass knuckle that was later found by police smeared with blood just outside the bar. He said they tried to escape by fleeing down the block to nearby Hester Street, but their assailants followed with one man allegedly brandished a knife.

"Absolutely (we feared for our lives)," he said. "I'm not sure how often someone gets a knife pulled on them, but that's not something that happens very frequently, especially in a place that I thought would be relatively safe."

Police officers working in the area came upon the bloodied brothers and took them back to the bar, where one man was arrested.

"We don't support, endorse, or sympathize with any neo-Nazi, white supremacy group, or any group that's violent in that way," bar owner Frank Scotto said. "That's not what we're about."

Even so the victims, grad students at Columbia, say they won't be back there. Both are still stunned that this could happen in New York.

"I'm completely shocked, and I'm appalled by it," the victim said. "I feel like these organizations are sort of being emboldened to come out of the woodwork now, just because of the general sentiment that's going on."

The suspect was identified as 29-year-old John Young. He is charged with assault, grand larceny, criminal mischief and menacing.