Jewish family attacked during graduation ceremony plans $100M lawsuit against New York City

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Family suing NYC for $100M after graduation brawl in Brooklyn
Kemberly Richardson has more from Brooklyn.

GRAVESEND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A fifth-grade graduation ceremony in Brooklyn turned into an all-out brawl and now the family who was attacked is suing the city for $100 million.

It happened June 14 around 10:45 a.m. at PS 682 in Gravesend.

The family says they were targeted for being Jewish and were punched, smashed in the head and dragged on the ground by their hair.

Video that shows part of the incident was taken by Lana Lerner, who said while she was filming her husband Johan Nunez being attacked, she was also pulled to the ground and assaulted. The couple ended up with cuts and bruises all over their bodies.

Lerner has twin boys who were taking part in the ceremony during which another student walked across the stage with a graduation cap that said "Free Palestine" while holding a Palestinian flag.

Then when it was time to take pictures, Lerner's family and the other student's family ended up next to each other when more words were exchanged and the situation continued to escalate.

Lerner maintains her husband tried to calm things down, but out of nowhere, a man from the other family allegedly sucker-punched her husband and attacked the couple's 16-year-old son.

Two teachers eventually broke up the fight, but by then the damage was done.

"The graduation was happy, they sang songs, they showed beautiful videos and then this happened," Lerner said. "And now, unfortunately going forward my kids will forever remember their fifth-grade graduation as the day that their family got attacked, as opposed to a day that was celebratory."

Ez-Al Dean Bazar, 26, was arrested and charged with assault.

"We urge the district attorney's office when they make a determination with regard to the charges, they charge this as a hate crime and also carefully look at the involvement of others here as well as the one individual who was arrested," said attorney Sanford Rubenstein.

The NYC Department of Education said they are investigating and released the following statement:

"Graduations should be times of celebration and joy, and we strongly denounce anyone who acts in a violent or aggressive way during such events. Initial reports we have received from multiple witnesses indicate that both families engaged in aggressive behavior, but we are still investigating the matter and are simultaneously engaging with families as we work towards a resolution."

When it comes to the education department's policy on graduation attire, in general, it says any political statement or activity that is disruptive will not be permitted.

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