Sunday, October 11, 2015
Jewish homophobes or Jewish racists or both?
Nearly two years ago a gay black fashion student was left blinded in one eye after he was brutally attacked as he walked home following a night of partying. Now three of the four Hasidic Jewish men accused of beating him went before a Brooklyn, New York judge. Taj Patterson claims that he was confronted by the ultra-Orthodox group, made up of at least 12 men, as he was headed to his Fort Greene home on December 1, 2013. He says that they assaulted him as they shouted homophobic insults. Officers from the NYPD's hate crime squad later arrested four men - 41-year-old Abraham Winkler, 23-year-old Mayer Herskovic, 21-year-old Pinchas Braver and 27-year-old Joseph Fried. They are all accused of gang assault, imprisonment and menace, but no hate crime charges have been filed, despite Patterson's claim that he was called a f****t. One attacker allegedly kicked him as he lay on the ground and shouted: "stay down, f****t, stay the f*** down" as others cheered. He said later: "I was alone. I was an easy target. I'm black. I'm gay, a whole slew of reasons." The now 24-year-old admitted, however, that he had been drinking heavily and police included the fact that he was "intoxicated" in their initial reports. Patterson suffered a broken left eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles. He is now also suing the four men - seeking unspecified damages for his injuries and accuses the volunteer safety patrol of negligence. Shomrim is a self-styled neighborhood protection outfit, set up in Haredi communities throughout the United States to help combat crime. Volunteers can make citizens' arrests only. Police, however, say that they have become involved in acts of vigilantism.