NEW YORK (VINnews) — The Queens couple that was arrested earlier this week for making anti-Semitic remarks and ripping the masks off Hasidic men in Williamsburg, were the victims of an attack at the scene. At least that’s the way their attorney tells it.
According to police, Paulo Pinho, 35, and his wife, Clelia Pinho, 46, were arrested on a charge of aggravated harassment as a hate crime after a confronting with a large group of Hasidic Jews who were gathered outside late Sunday at Bedford Avenue and Ross Street in Williamsburg.
The couple exited their vehicle and started hurling “anti-Semitic statements” to the crowd, before Paulo Pinho accused them of being the reason why people were contracting the coronavirus.
“After making the statements, that’s when the masks were pulled off,” said NYPD Lt. Thomas Antonetti.
Butthe couple’s attorney Ken Belkin says that his clinets were only “taking an irresponsible mass of individuals to task,” and were not motivated by anti-Semitism at all. “My clients abhor racism and anti-Semitism in all of their forms,” Belkin said.
“This incensed the crowd and tempers flared,” Belkin continued. “My clients were the ones who called the NYPD and they did so out of fear for their lives. The crowd then attacked my clients and they were treated for their injuries at Woodhull Hospital.”
Pinho was treated at the hospotal for a broken arm, Belkin said.
The couple was issued a desk appearance ticket, are due in court on Sept. 8. If convicted, they may spend up to one year in jail.