In New York, a gay Black man was brutally assaulted by a gang of Hasidic Jews in the borough of Brooklyn last December. Now, police have charged five of the gang with several assault charges although hate crime charges have not been filed.
Taj Patterson, a 22-year-old fashion student, was walking to his home in Fort Greene December 1 when he was reportedly attacked in Williamsburg by roughly 20 Hasidic Jews wearing similar uniforms according to eyewitness accounts. Witnesses also allege that the group belonged to the Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group in the area.
Patterson says the men came up behind him, then began punching and kicking him to the ground. The assault was stopped when MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys got out of her vehicle and broke apart the melee. In the attack, Patterson suffered a broken eye socket, a torn retina, bruises and blood clotting. He was treated at Woodhull Hospital.
“I’m walking down some block by myself and then the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a group of Hasidic Jewish men and they’re attacking me,” Patterson said to Gothamist back in December. “I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons.”
The New York Daily News reported that five men have been arrested, including two men who fled to Israel and were taken from the country to face charges.
Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, and Joseph Fried, 25, were charged with gang assault and other counts, according to sources. The men were all arraigned on Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon. They were released on bails ranging from $25,000 and $50,000.
Each man faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
Photo: Taj Patterson