A Hasidic man was brutally beaten by a group of three men on Wednesday in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The victim, who has been identified as Crown Heights community activist Yosef Hershkop, reportedly got into an altercation with the perpetrators after hitting their car while trying to park on Montgomery Street, according to COLlIive.
The three men proceeded to follow Hershkop as he looked for another parking spot and eventually caught up with him. Hershkop initially spoke to the men, who demanded money for the damage done to their vehicle. Violence ensued after Hershkop suggested filing a police report, Hamodia reported.
The assault on Hershkop
As seen in the video, the three men punched Hershkop multiple times as he sat in his car before another man crossed the street and appeared to deescalate the situation. A neighborhood patrol volunteer who interacted with the victim shortly after the beating told Hamodia that Hershkop’s face was “busted up” and that he was in a state of shock, unable to speak coherently. The victim’s 5-year-old son was in the car during the attack, per COLliveCrown Heights Shomrim tweeted that “Our volunteers responded to a brutal assault by a few thugs. Despite a fast response the victim was in shock and wasn't able to give details.”
The Shomrim reported that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 71st Precinct responded to the scene as well.
As of Wednesday evening, the NYPD and Crown Heights Shomrim were searching for the vehicle of the perpetrators, which is described as a silver sedan with a smashed rear-left window covered with plastic. Those with information are encouraged to call the Shomrim at (718) 774-3333.
Hatzalah transported the victim to Maimonides Hospital after the incident. Hershkop was released from hospital Wednesday night and is currently at home, Yaacov Behrman, a public relations official for Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters, told The Jerusalem Post.
A history of violence
This incident was far from the first time that Hasidic Jews have been assaulted in Crown Heights – a neighborhood that is predominantly inhabited by Chabad Hasidim and African Americans and has a history of racial tensions.
In January, a 21-year-old yeshiva student was randomly punched in the face by a young black man. A similar incident occurred in May, when another perpetrator physically assaulted a rabbi and said, “the Nazis should have killed you Jews.”
Antisemitic hate crimes in the US have nearly tripled since 2015, with much of the hostility directed towards Jews being posted on the Internet. Nevertheless, violent crimes continue to be a serious issue.