NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Five Hasidic men are facing gang-related charges in the vicious beating of a man in Brooklyn.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the members of a Jewish safety patrol in Williamsburg are accused of stopping then attacking Taj Patterson as he walked through the neighborhood on Dec. 1.
Patterson, 23, sustained several injuries, including a broken eye socket that left him blind in one eye. He tried to get away, but authorities say several men in the group, which had grown to about 15, held him down and punched and kicked him. The attackers then fled after a passer-by threatened to take pictures of them.
As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, the fashion student said the men assaulted him while shouting anti-gay slurs.
Indicted Wednesday for gang assault and other serious felonies were Abraham Winkler, 39; Aharon Hollander, 28; Mayer Herskovic, 21; Joseph Fried, 25; and Pinchas Braver, 19.
The case was able to move forward Wednesday when two of the men returned from overseas, where they apparently fled to avoid prosecution, Young reported.
The suspects said at the time of the incident they were looking for vandals who were damaging cars, but there was no evidence of vandalism the night of the attack, Young reported. No one called 911 until after the confrontation was underway. The assailants fled when witnesses began to take photos of the beating.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the indictment sent a clear message that acts of vigilantism are unacceptable, Stern reported.
“I was briefed on that incident every several days during the course of the investigation, and I’m glad to see that it has come to a successful conclusion,” Bratton said.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 25 years in prison.
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