Police are looking for two suspects who allegedly attacked an Orthodox Jewish man in front of a synagogue in Brooklyn on Saturday evening.
This is the third attack against the religious Jews in less than one week, and according to the numbers, the violence has increased exponentially this year.
Police have not ruled the attack a “hate crime,” but local lawmakers are furious. [Apparently, authorities think it could have just been regular violent attacks against productive, law-abiding citizens, despite the evidence that shows otherwise.]
In an earlier attack, an elderly Rabbi “feared for his life” when a suspect used a paving stone to hit him in the head.
New York CBS2 reported:
Police said the 45-year-old victim was walking home when he saw two men drinking in front of a synagogue near Avenue J and East 15th Street. They said there was some type of verbal dispute.
That’s when one of the men pushed the victim to the ground, took off his belt and started hitting the man in the face with it over and over again.
The victim was treated by EMS for cuts to his face and head.
Police said it’s too early to tell if this was a hate crime, but former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind tweeted, “A young Jewish man was called a f***ing Jew and then belted over the head with a metal belt buckle!”
BREAKING: just got a call from 70th pct about another violent antisemitic hate crime. A young Jewish man was called a “F***ing Jew” and then belted over the head with a metal belt buckle!@NYCMayor do we need history to repeat itself for you to take action?! Must we die first?! https://t.co/6WgNPnOR8l
“To do this in front of a Jewish school is kind of a barbaric,” Midwood resident Jim Donovan told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Authorities are investigating two other possible hate crimes that happened earlier this week. According to the NYPD, someone hit a rabbi in the face with a heavy paving stone Tuesday morning in Crown Heights, breaking his nose and knocking out two teeth.
On Thursday, police say suspects threw something — possibly ice — at an Orthodox Jewish man while he was sitting in traffic. The victim suffered an eye injury. That incident also happened in Crown Heights.
Residents are now pushing for a greater police presence in the area, including more uniformed officers on patrol.
“Having officers in the streets is preventive. It’s important to have visibility to prevent such incidents,” City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told Carlin.
Deutsch said the new Office of Hate Crimes Prevention, which he helped create, is opening this week, ahead of schedule. He said it will focus on outreach to foster better understanding between different groups and neighborhoods.
“We will tackle this head-on as New Yorkers,” Deutsch said. “Through educators within the Hate Crimes Unit and also victims who will come out and tell their stories.”
Police said there have been nearly 150 anti-Semitic hate crime complaints in the city so far this year. That’s nearly double the number they saw at this time last year. Deutsch said the state needs to come up with stricter hate crime laws with tougher penalties to help hit back at hate.
Police are still searching for the man who attacked the beloved father and grandfather.
“He certainly feared for his life,” Benny Friedman, the victim’s son-in-law, said.
Friedman says his father-in-law, Avraham Gopin, was going for his usual jog around the ball fields around 7:30 a.m. when suddenly a stranger came towards him and yelled an anti-Semitic slur.
“From the yelling, he didn’t respond, but from the moment the boulder flew, he said he went into self-defense mode. He really thought that the man was… He meant business,” Friedman said.
Friedman says the suspect punched his father-in-law in the face and then hit him over the head with a massive stone.
“It was clear to him that the man was trying to kill him. Those were his words. The man was out for blood, that’s for sure,” he said.
“He was bleeding all over, missing two front teeth and he was transported by ambulance to Maimonides Hospital,” Councilman Chaim Deutsch said.
Gopin is a father of 10 and a grandfather. He has lived in Crown Heights for 40 years.
“He loves his family. He loves his community. He loves the neighborhood,” Friedman said. “Unfortunately, these events are becoming more and more prevalent.”
“To just walk into a park to enjoy themselves and leaving with a stretcher, and that is totally, totally unacceptable,” Deutsch said.
“We are in a crisis here in New York City,” Deutsch said. “We need to do more to prevent such incidents from happening, and we need to work together as communities.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams both condemned the attack on Twitter and urged anyone with information to call police.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating this despicable act of violence, and we will find the attacker.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 27, 2019
As for the victim, his family is grateful he made it out of the park alive.
“There’s no question that things could have [been] far worse than they are right now,” Friedman said. “I believe he’s going to continue living just the way he was.”