Staten Island man pleads guilty to anti-Jewish assault in Brooklyn

May 31, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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A Staten Island man pled guilty to a brazen, bias-motivated assault on a Jewish individual, in a Brooklyn court on Tuesday, in a case that has sparked concerns about anti-Semitic violence in the city after a person punched and then threw a cold cup of coffee in someone’s face over a hoodie that supported the military of the State of Israel.

Suleiman Othman, 28, admitted to the attempted assault as a hate crime before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. In the shocking daylight incident, Othman assaulted a 21-year-old Jewish man for wearing a hoodie bearing the emblem of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

The attack took place on Dec. 26, 2021, outside a Foot Locker on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, a commercial corridor that has seen many stores shutter since the COVID pandemic.

After spewing hateful anti-Semitic comments at the victim, Othman proceeded to punch him twice in the face and douse him with a cup of iced coffee, simply because he refused to remove his IDF hoodie.

“The hateful and unprovoked assault this defendant admitted to today left one victim hurt, but also shook an entire community,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “His conviction, jail time and probation should send a message that this kind of intolerance has serious consequences.”

For his guilty plea, Othman has been promised a sentence of 60 days in jail followed by three years of probation.

This incident, involving a clear violation of freedoms of expression and a brutal attack in broad daylight, has raised concerns over the safety of the city’s Jewish community. Scott Richman, Anti-Defamation League Regional Director for New York and New Jersey, applauded the District Attorney’s office for securing a hate crime conviction.

“We are grateful to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for sending a clear message that those who commit acts of hate-fueled violence, including based on a victim’s perceived associations, will be held accountable,” said Richman.

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