Live

Watch CBSN Live

"One terrible punch": Victim in NYC anti-Semitic attack speaks out

Suspects sought in anti-Semitic attack

The victim in one of two anti-Semitic hate crime attacks in the New York City borough of Brooklyn this month is speaking out about the attack. The victim, who is Jewish, told CBS New York he was beaten by four men in the Williamsburg neighborhood May 4.

The 42-year-old victim said he was walking on the street when he was attacked by four men and punched in the face. The assailants yelled, "We hate Jews," the victim, who didn't want to be named, told CBS New York.

"One terrible punch, like full of power, like a lot of power in one punch," the victim said. "Terrible pain on the teeth and on the eyes."

He said he then heard one of the assailants yell, "He's not down," and another assailant reply, "Oh, he's not down?"

"Then I start to scream and fight, and scream for help," the victim said.

The victim said he ran with two good Samaritans to a police precinct. A week later, the victim said he still has bruising on his face. 

Video released by the NYPD shows the suspected assailants. Investigators are asking the public to help identify them.

cbsn-fusion-victim-of-anti-semitic-attack-in-brooklyn-speaks-out-thumbnail-1849453-640x360.jpg
Image shows four suspects in a May 4, 2019 hate crime attack on a Jewish man in New York City. NYPD

Three days later in the same area in the Williamsburg neighborhood, video obtained by the Williamsburg News shows another attack on a Jewish man. In the video, an assailant is seen approaching the victim from behind and sucker-punching him. Investigators are also searching for the suspect in that case and have identified both as hate crimes.

"The community is extremely frightened," Rabbi David Niederman, the executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, told local news website BKLYNR."Everybody is concerned and asking will I be safe? Are my children safe, walking in the broad daylight?"

The incidents come as reports of anti-Semitic crimes are on the rise in New York City and across the country. According to CBS New York, the NYPD reports hate crimes were up 67% in the city in the first quarter of the year, January through April. There were 145 incidents, compared to 87 in the first four months of 2018. Of those, 82 of the 2019 incidents were anti-Semitic, an 82% increase.

And last week, the Anti-Defamation League reported violent attacks against the Jewish community in the United States doubled last year. 

The Jewish civil rights group counted 39 cases of physical assaults involving 59 victims in 2018, up from 19 assaults and 21 victims in 2017, reports the Associated Press. The 2018 tally includes 11 people who were killed and two congregants wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October — the deadliest attack on Jews in the nation's history. Six months later, a worshipper was killed and three people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a California synagogue.

In a statement released after the first attack in Brooklyn, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he's directed the New York State Police hate crimes task force to assist the NYPD.

"This abhorrent act of hate-fueled violence is deeply disturbing, especially in the wake of a reported spike in hate crimes and anti-Semitic incidents over the past year," the statement said.