NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating another possible bias attack in Brooklyn.
Officials say a Jewish man was assaulted with a belt.
Police say two suspects attacked a 45-year-old Orthodox Jewish man in front of a Midwood synagogue.
It’s the third attack on an Orthodox man in Brooklyn in less than a week.
CBSN New York’s Natalie Duddridge spoke with the victim on the phone, who said it happened Saturday night just as Shabbat – the Jewish sabbath – was coming to an end. He noticed two men drinking on the street. There was a verbal dispute, and then it turned violent.
He doesn’t want his name released, but the victim described the moment he was attacked leaving his synagogue on Avenue J and East 15th Street Saturday night. He says two men yelled hateful slurs at him, and hit him with a belt and even a bottle.
“I felt a bomb on my head. Then I see the belt. I think he took a beer, glass bee, hit me in the back of my head. Lost balance,” he said.
EMS treated him for cuts to his face and head. While the victim says his injuries weren’t so bad, he’s worried about others being attacked just for being Jewish.
“If they’re going to hit me today, they’re going to hit somebody else,” he said. “Today is me, tomorrow is a child.”
A neighbor who lives next door described how shaken up the man was.
“I was, like, halfway down the block. I saw him. He was cut, and he was injured, screaming. I didn’t see the guys who did it though,” he told Duddridge.
BREAKING: just got a call from 70th pct about another violent antisemitic hate crime. A young Jewish man was called a “F***ing Jew” and then belted over the head with a metal belt buckle!@NYCMayor do we need history to repeat itself for you to take action?! Must we die first?! https://t.co/6WgNPnOR8l
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) September 1, 2019
Authorities are investigating two other possible hate crimes that happened last week.
On Thursday, police say suspects threw something at an Orthodox Jewish man while he was sitting in traffic. The victim suffered an eye injury. That incident also happened in Crown Heights.
“Jews are afraid. Jews are being assaulted,” said former Assemblyman Dov Hikind. “Swastikas, all kinds of hateful things are happening in New York and very little is being done except that everyone condemns it.”
People in the area say they’re pushing for more police presence in the area including more uniformed officers on patrol.
“There should be more police and more cameras, simple,” said one area resident.
“It’s like copycat kind of things. The more people who see the things happening, the more they’re provoked,” said another.
The synagogue where the attack happened is also a school, and the victim says his main concern is children like his being targeted, especially as they head back to yeshivas this week.
The NYPD says they have tracked down a suspect who is facing several charges including assault. For now, police are not deeming it a hate crime because the victim initiated contact when he complained about them drinking alcohol in public.