Police said a group of five to six men attacked the 29-year-old victim around 6:30 p.m. on Broadway near West 49th Street.READ MORE: Exclusive: Cellphone Video Shows NYPD Sergeant Throw Man To Ground During Violent Arrest On Lower East Side
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating some of the incidents in the area.
CBS2’s Alice Gainer spoke to one man who was beaten on the ground.
“My whole face… felt like it was on fire for hours,” Joseph Borgen said.
— Rob Bertrand (@Robertrand77) May 20, 2021
A bruised Borgen says that’s him on the ground in disturbing video showing a violent attack by a group of men. Police said they also used an anti-Semitic slur during the attack.
“They were macing me for like a minute straight,” he said. “Kicked me, punched me, beat me with crutches, hit me with flags.”
He says he’s bruised all over and has a concussion.
Watch Alice Gainer’s report —
Borgen was alone, on his way to attend a pro-Israel rally at 47th and Seventh – the same one he says he attended last week.
“Wore my yarmulke, wore my kippah,” he said. “I never made it to the rally. By 48th street I saw someone start chasing me from behind, and next thing you know, before I could react, I was surrounded by a crowd… they were making anti-Jewish comments.”
The 29-year-old was taken to Bellevue and released and is now recovering at home with his loving dog Roman.
UPDATE-23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh was arrested for using a crutch to assault a man in front of 1604 Broadway. He’s been charged with hate crime assault 2, gang assault 2, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon.@NYPDDetectives @ADL_NYNJ @simonwiesenthal @JCRCNY @TheCSSorg
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) May 21, 2021
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating. After canvasing the area and looking at security video, police arrested 23-year-old Wasseem Awawdeh of Brooklyn for using a crutch to assault Borgen. He’s facing assault as a hate crime, gang assault and weapons charges.
They’re still looking for the others.
“It’s absolutely disgusting and unacceptable,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. “We have had a man viciously beaten simply because he appeared to some individuals to be Jewish. We had folks throwing very potent fireworks and creating harm to others and burning some folk, at least one person. This is unacceptable.”
The mayor urged New Yorkers to call police if they have any information about the incident.READ MORE: New York City Councilmember 'Baffled' By Mayor's Hesitance To Mandate Masks As Delta Variant Spreads
“What happened last night is absolutely unacceptable. There is no place for anti-Semitism in York City. We will not tolerate it. My message is very clear. Anyone who commits such an act is going to be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
The anti-Semitism were seeing across our country isn’t in isolation and isn’t just a few incidents. It’s part of a horrible and consistent pattern.
History teaches us we ignore that pattern at our own peril.
We have to stand up to it. We have to call it out. pic.twitter.com/I99gXDfBSS
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 21, 2021
The mayor, other city leaders and police officials met with Jewish community leaders at City Hall on Friday to explain what the city is doing to keep the community safe.
HAPPENING NOW: @NYCMayor, @NYPDChiefOfDept and other City leaders are meeting with leaders of our Jewish community at City Hall to discuss recent acts of anti-Semitic violence in New York City. pic.twitter.com/55F5ddJoVA
— City of New York (@nycgov) May 21, 2021
Police sources say an M-80 blast in Times Square last night injured a 55-year-old woman who suffered burns to her back. It’s unclear if she was part of the protest or walking by.
Police have released photos of a man they’re looking for in connection with that attack, which is being treated as a hate crime.
Dozens of others were taken into police custody after pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli brawlers squared off in Times Square Thursday night, throwing objects and other projectiles.
Borgen says despite what happened won’t deter him from attending any future rallies.
“We all want peace. We all want to get along. We all want to be on the same page. Violence is never the answer,” he said.
“I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers and we will not tolerate anti-Semitic violent gang harassment and intimidation,” he said in a statement. “New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence.”
The Anti-Defamation League also condemned the attack, saying “violence is absolutely unacceptable.”
Frightening attacks on Jews in Times Square of #NYC this evening. Many arrests made. Working with @NYPDHateCrimes and @NewYorkFBI, as well as elected officials and the local Jewish community. Violence is absolutely unacceptable. https://t.co/HbKGaETVBU
— ADL New York / New Jersey (@ADL_NYNJ) May 21, 2021
Anyone with information about the beating is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.MORE NEWS: Criminal Justice Expert Says Police Intervention Only Part Of Solution To New York City's Gun Violence
CBS2’s Alice Gainer and Dick Brennan contributed to this report.