NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — Detectives from the Hate Crimes Bureau are looking into an attack on a local teacher who was released from the hospitalized Monday night after being brutally beaten Thanksgiving night.
Joel Weinberger, a 26-year-old father of four, suffered a broken leg and his jaw was wired shut. He had difficulty talking about what happened him Thursday night.
“I’m too traumatized to talk now,” Weinberger said from his hospital bed Sunday night.
Family spokesman Isaac Abraham filled in the details, saying the attack happened on Thanksgiving at about 7:30 p.m. in Williamsburg.
Weinberger left his workplace, a Yeshiva on Harrison Avenue, and rounded the corner onto a desolate street one block from his home. There, he was apparently confronted by three men.
“They were offered his wallet, and they were not even interested,” Abraham said. “They were there for one reason only – it’s to hurt him because of his religion.
“All his religious articles – his hat, his jacket, his fringes – were ripped apart. He was basically undressed on the scene,” Abraham said. “They rearranged his face.”
“I’m not the best investigator in the world, but what do you think would lead to a bias crime,” Abraham asked.
CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman spoke with a man who said he witnessed the scene from his window.
The man said the assailants “pulled of his hat, started to beat him — they punched him very badly. The guy was like totally lost, his eyeglasses fell off and then he lost his cell phone. I saw things flying.”
Weinberger told Abraham that the alleged attackers wore big rings or brass knuckles when they grabbed him.
According to Abraham, Weinberger believes the men yelled “we hate you” before running off.
The security camera nearest to the attack, belonging to a car rental business, was too far and at an angle which prevented it from catching the crime on tape. However, the video may provide a glimpse of the three suspects before or after the attack.
The suspects took Weinberger’s cell phone, and CBS 2 has learned that detectives are checking cell phone records.
“He is a very good person,” Weinberger’s coworker, Joel Weiss, said.
“Life is not safe,” one woman said. “We thought it’s a safe place, but we have to put more eyes, more lighting.”
“It’ll happen again if they are not taken off the streets quick,” Abraham said.
The search for suspects is complicated because Weinberger did not get a good look at his three attackers, telling friends and family it was too dark and that he was jumped from behind.
The school and a community group are posting a $5,000 reward leading to the attackers’ arrests.