NEW YORK (VINnews) — After a video went viral showing an Orthodox Jewish man being told “the Nazis will ****ing kill you” in a Five Towns Costco, VINnews made contact with the victim to hear his side of the story.
The following in part is his retelling of the incident.
“Now that I can finally sit down, I will try to write out what transpired at the Lawrence Costco today and share some of my thoughts and reflections. Some of the quotes may not be verbatim, as I did not write down notes at the moment. Getting back to my family was of greater import at that time than transcribing the exact words used. Let me just share a disclaimer here, that I have the utmost respect for our men and women in blue and always make a point of stopping any officer in the street to thank them for their service. Here we go…
I was in the Men’s Room in Costco when a man walked out of one of the stalls. He said, “[expletive] Jew, the Nazis will finish you off.” I turned around to see who had said that. I quickly followed him out of the bathroom, taking out my phone to get him on video to share on Social Media, outing this bigot while demonstrating that there is this type of bigotry, even here at “home” in the Five Towns.
As you saw in the video, at first he tried to deny it. I pressed him by saying, “say it to my face.” To indicate that I had no desire to get physical, I kept my left hand down at my side while holding up the phone with my right hand. After a few times of my telling him to “say it to my face,” he went on the rant you saw in the video. In the video you will notice there is a Hispanic woman in black clothing at the counter, I found out later that she is his mother. Behind me were a number of people standing in line, white and African-American. No reaction from anyone, other than one elderly African-American gentleman who was shaking his head in disgust.
During the rant, you can see that he threatens me with physical harm and lunged at me twice. I just moved back at each attempt, as I was not interested in a physical altercation.
HATE IS ALIVE IN NY: This happened in the @Costco in Lawrence, NY when a Jewish man was verbally assaulted by a neo-Nazi threatening to pull out a gun, attack him. If you know this man, please contact the Nassau County Police Department. pic.twitter.com/NgiPTxQ4WH
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) December 8, 2019
I went to the managers counter and shared the video with two of the managers. One of them, David, asked me to step behind the counter as the assailant was following me. When the assailant walked back towards the food court, David followed him.
I went back to my wife and son, who were shopping, blissfully unaware of what had happened. I proceeded to send the videos to a group chat on Whatsapp, where a lawyer friend of mine said that it constitutes a hate crime, which should be reported to the police. I informed my wife, and headed toward the exit of the store to call the police.
Wanting to be courteous to David and Costco, I went back to him to inform him that I’d be calling the police. David shared that he was going to go over to the food counter to get his membership number and then inform the fellow that his membership will be cancelled and will never be welcome in a Costco again. The assailant walked away when he saw David, so David followed him outside. As he passed the return line, the assailant told another Jew, “I’m going out to get my gun and will come back to shoot you up.” David then proceeded to call the police, all the while following him to his car. David took the license plate number, providing it to the police.
After calling the police to file a report and share the video, a rather pleasant police officer arrived. I showed him the video and shared all the above. He said that there isn’t much he can do. I responded, “he clearly threatened physical harm, and besides, a lawyer friend told me this constitutes a hate crime. I’d like to file a report.”
I could not believe what he told me next. “Once you followed him out of the bathroom, you became the aggressor.” Right then another officer showed up. The first officer told me to repeat the story to the second officer, which I proceeded to do. The second officer said, “what you did wasn’t so smart. Clearly this guy is mentally ill and you were provoking him.” He then went on to theorize to the first officer what what medication he may be on (Risperidone being his number one choice).
The first officer then told me he would pass it on at the squad and maybe a detective would take on the case. I reminded him that the assailant had made a very clear threat to another person, witnessed by David. He went inside the store to interview David. At this point I went back inside to my wife and son, while uploading the video to facebook.
In the past six hours or so there were 5k views, with hundreds of shares, comments and reactions. At about 10:15pm I received a notice from Facebook that they removed the post for violating their “Community Standards.”
I would like to address the issue of the police, as the police in general do not deserve to be maligned to any extent based on the actions of the officers that responded today. Any man or woman who puts on that uniform, swearing to protect us with their very own lives, deserves nothing but our utmost respect.
I strongly believe that the current political climate we live in has brought about the actions of the police today. A Jew being verbally attacked does not fit the narrative that the current local government, both in Nassau County and NYC, want painted. There is much commentary on that, which I do not have the stamina to type up now. We shall return to that later. In my humble opinion, the upper echelons and political figures may not be overtly saying it, but the message is being given that threats to Jews are not to be taken seriously.
Eventually, the officer gave the case to the detectives. They called me down to the station. They apologized profusely for what was told to me and are writing a report now. Additionally, the second male who was accosted by the perp reached out to me and called the precinct. The cops are really amazing people. More updates to follow.