Brooklyn, NY – The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is looking into an attack that took place yesterday in Williamsburg as a possible bias incident after a 39 year old Chasidic man was hit in the head by an unidentified man in broad daylight.
Police said that the attack took place at approximately 7:40 PM at the corner of Marcy Avenue and Rodney Street.
Surveillance video shows the victim getting hit from behind on the side of the face with an open hand, knocking both his hat and his yarmulke off his head, nearly stumbling to the ground from the impact of the blow. He sustained pain and redness to his face and was not seriously injured in the incident.
The suspect, who was wearing a light colored top, dark pants and shoes and a dark backpack, fled the scene.
Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, said that police need to be doing more to protect the community.
“This has reached crisis proportion,” Rabbi Niederman told VIN News. “If young adults and children cannot walk freely in the street in broad daylight, the conclusion is that we are not safe. Who is addressing this and how? What are we telling our children and our families?”
Rabbi Niederman said that he has been told by the NYPD that they are looking into the incident and that video supplied by Williamsburg Shomrim has been helpful. Those efforts are just not enough, said Rabbi Niederman.
“This is frightening and it happens all too often,” said Rabbi Niederman. “We need to sit down and have an emergency meeting with the police commissioner to address where we are and what is going to be done.”
Taking to Twitter, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams made it clear that he had no doubts that the victim was singled out because of his religion, tweeting, “I’m appalled by this anti-Semitic assault yesterday in #Williamsburg. It’s particularly chilling this attack doesn’t appear borne from gang mentality, but rather done by a lone assailant. We must ALL amplify our efforts to increase respect for diversity.”
Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin also categorized the incident as anti-Semitic and called on the NYPD to act decisively to put a stop to the wave of attacks on the district’s Jewish residents.
“This kind of hate cannot be tolerated,” said Levin. “I fully expect the NYPD to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrator of this crime and I intend to follow up to ensure that we are doing everything we can to root out this type of hate from our communities.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers Hotline by phone at 800-577-TIPS, by text at 247637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577 or online at www.NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.