25 year old Shawn Schraeder of Queens was arrested by police on Thursday, October 16th and charged with assault and harassment.
An NYPD spokesperson told VIN News that while the incident was investigated as a possible bias incident, the investigation determined that bias was not a motivating factor in the attack on Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA.
The incident in question took place on October 7th, during an exhibition game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Tel Aviv Maccabis, with Schraeder and his companions seated in front of Petlakh and his party.
A woman seated with Schraeder’s held up a Palestinian flag and an argument ensued when a member of Petlakh’s group grabbed the flag. Security guards intervened, escorting both groups out of the arena and the altercation continued outside Barclays Center, with Schraeder allegedly punching the 42 year old Petlakh in the left eye.
Petlakh, who attended the game with his two sons, suffered a broken nose and received eight stitches as a result of the attack.
City Councilman Mark Treyger praised the NYPD for its quick work in the case.
“This sends a clear message that our city will not tolerate violence against anyone and will devote the necessary time and resources to investigating all incidents of hatred,” said Treyger.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz criticized the NYPD for not classifying the attack as a hate crime in a written statement.
“I’m pleased that police arrested a suspect in the brutal attack on Leonard Petlakh but I find it disturbing that they do not plan to charge him with a bias crime. Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision. I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.
According to multiple accounts of the incident, the suspect did not work alone. He was part of a group of anti-Israel protestors whose intentions turned hateful and violent. I encourage law enforcement to pursue the accomplices who fled after the attack and bring them to justice as well.”