Crown Heights

Security footage shows alleged attackers in pair of Hanukkah hate crimes

January 2, 2020 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Cops are seeking a group of assailants in connection to at least two of three alleged anti-Semitic attacks that took place in Crown Heights on Dec. 24, during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

At around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, a 56-year-old Hasidic man was attacked from behind by a group of people walking on Union Street between Albany Avenue and Kingston Avenue. The man, who was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground, refused medical attention, according to police. His attackers crossed over to the south side of Union Street and fled east towards Albany Avenue.

About a half an hour later and just a few blocks away, a 23-year-old Hasidic man was attacked by the same group of men, cops said. The victim was walking near the corner of Albany Avenue and Lincoln Place at around 5:56 p.m. when cops say he was approached by the assailants. One of the men then struck the victim in the head with a chair and punched him in the face. Another man threatened the victim with a stick, cops said.

The group again crossed to the south side of Union Street and fled east towards Albany Avenue. The 23-year-old also refused medical attention. Security footage obtained from the later incident shows a group of six young adult men walking near the scene.

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Police released a video on Tuesday night of a group they say are connected to those two attacks.

Video: NYPD

Earlier that day at around 1:40 a.m., a 25-year-old man had anti-Semitic slurs yelled at him as he walked on Kingston Avenue near President Street. The people yelling also threw a drink at him. The man was not injured in the incident.

As of Sunday, anti-Semitic incidents across the city were up 21 percent, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in announcing a beefed up police presence in Brooklyn’s Jewish communities to combat a “crisis” of anti-Semitic attacks.

The additional officers to Jewish neighborhoods was the second increase in as many days, spurred on by yet another high-profile incident in Monsey on Sunday, where a man with a machete stormed a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home, stabbing five.

In addition to increased police presence, the mayor announced three initiatives rolling out in January to address increases in anti-Semitic incidents.

“Neighborhood Safety Coalitions” will launch in Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park, and will be overseen by the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, which launched in early September in response to a sharp uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.

The mayor’s office is also directing the Department of Education to launch hate crime awareness programming in January for middle and high schools in Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park. A more robust curriculum on addressing hate crimes will be rolled out to the same neighborhoods in the fall.

The de Blasio administration will also launch a series of advertising and social media campaigns aimed at highlighting the diversity of New York City, encouraging respect for all communities — as well as recognizing and reporting signs of potential bias-motivated violence.

Additional reporting by Ned Berke.

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