NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police say an attack on a Hasidic Jewish man in Brooklyn was just an attempted robbery, but members of the community say it should be investigated as a hate crime, too.

Surveillance video shows two suspects approached the man from behind around 10:40 p.m. Thursday on Barlett Street in Williamsburg.

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The suspects chased him, beat him and unsuccessfully tried to steal his bag, but injured his face in the process, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Friday.

The man managed to hold on to his belongings and the suspects fled the scene empty-handed.

“Bothers me. I was here yesterday night, I heard him screaming. I was in my car, he screamed, ‘Help! Help!'” said Shia Katz.

“He was bleeding from his mouth,” said an EMT who responded to the scene.

The victim was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and was released.

After an investigation, police determined he was not the victim of a hate crime – that it was only an attempted robbery. Some in the Hasidic community expressed concern that he was the victim of a bias attack.

“No, they were even running after him after they attacked him,” Katz said.

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“Actually it could have been both, ’cause from what I know, this place is not the best,” said Yazmin Atuyno.

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Investigators said no weapons were involved and the suspects did not say anything to the man before attacking.

However, residents say they are on edge.

“I have a few kids and it makes me think again to walk out at night,” one person said.

Police said the suspects are likely in their 20s and were last seen wearing dark jackets, black jeans and white sneakers.


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