Watch CBS News

NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force Searching For Suspects Behind 2 Alleged Anti-Semitic Attacks In Borough Park

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is searching for a group of men responsible for at least two anti-Semitic attacks on Saturday night.

The first incident happened at a Brooklyn synagogue on 16th Avenue in Borough Park at around 8 p.m.

At around 7 p.m. on Saturday, surveillance video captured three men who police said harassed a group of Jewish men standing outside Agudath Israel.

Police said the men yelled anti-Jewish statements, causing the four male victims to run into the synagogue and lock the door. The attackers then started banging on the house of worship's door and one man is seen kicking the passenger side mirror of an unoccupied car parked out front, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

State Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein, who represents Borough Park, claimed the group shouted, "Free Palestine -- kill all the Jews."

Police said the same men then drove off and, 45 minutes later, jumped a 17-year-old and 18-year-old walking along Ocean Parkway and 18th Avenue. Police said the attackers demanded the victims repeat anti-Jewish statements and then beat them when they refused. One placed the 17-year-old in chokehold, before the victims were able to escape.

The attackers chased after the victims with a baseball bat and then were seen driving away in a blue Toyota Camry, police said.

On Sunday, hundreds rallied in lower Manhattan against anti-Semitic attacks abroad and here at home.

There are now 63 reported anti-Jewish attacks in the city this year, compared to 60 during the same time period last year.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison met with Jewish leaders and promised more police in Jewish neighborhoods and places of worship.

Locals questioned where the officers were Saturday night. Harrison said he's to blame.

"I'll take ownership of that. We had a meeting with each one of our borough chiefs to make sure that their presence was there. The misunderstanding is if you have to take officers from other places to make sure it's covered, then do as such. And that's where the mistake was made and we're correcting it," Harrison said.

"We're going to have our strategic response group deployed to these communities. We're also reaching out to our mobile field forces and making sure that they're in these communities as well," he added.

"We will not tolerate hate crimes. We will find the perpetrators. We will stop them. This is going to be a very aggressive action today, tonight, in the days ahead, until we are certain this is done," de Blasio said.

Many who live in the area said there's no room for mistakes.

"Antisemitism has to be stopped immediately. It is just out of control," one community leader said.

The NYPD is also looking for suspects in the vicious beating of Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man who was attacked in the Diamond District on Thursday when pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters clashed in Times Square.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.