NYPD meets with religious leaders over paintball shootings

July 24, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Elected officials, religious leaders and police brass meet to discuss recent shocking anti-Semitic crimes in South Williamsburg. Photo courtesy Assemblymember Lentol’s office

New York Police Department officials sat down with religious leaders and lawmakers to discuss how to respond to a series of shocking attacks targeting Hasidic Jews in South Williamsburg in which the attackers have fired paintballs at victims, thrown bottles and physically assaulted them.

The meeting, which took place last week at the headquarters of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, was requested by Rabbi David Neiderman, the group’s director.

Much of the discussion centered on ways the community could become more involved in preventing the attacks, according to Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn), who was in attendance.

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There have been five paint ball attacks against Hasidic Jews in South Williamsburg since March, according to the New York Daily News, which reported that the incidents are being investigated as possible hate crimes.

Dep. Insp. Mark DiPaolo, commanding officer of the 90th Police Precinct; Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North; state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights-North Brooklyn); state Sen. Martin Dilan (D-Bushwick-Williamsburg) and Assemblymember Maritza Davila (D-Bushwick) were also at the session, along with representatives from the office of Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-Williamsburg-Greenpoint), the mayor’s office and the borough president’s office.

Leaders of Williamsburg Shomrim, a citizens patrol group, also attended the meeting.

The NYPD brass stressed the importance of using video cameras to catch perpetrators. They also talked about how important it is for private security cameras to be in working order.

Lentol said that many of the participants around the table agreed that video cameras are not only a great tool for finding perpetrators, they are also a valuable crime deterrent and create a greater sense of safety in the community.

The elected officials pledged to work together on an education campaign to inform residents of the value of having working security cameras, Lentol said. The lawmakers are also in the process of securing additional funding to purchase more cameras for the area, he said.

“We all came together because there is no better way to solve problems than with a broad coalition. No person should be subject to an assault; no matter their religion or the color of their skin. I know these perpetrators will be caught and I know that the NYPD and the Williamsburg Shomrim are hard at work to prevent any future attacks,” Lentol said.

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