Man charged with hate crime after daylight assault in Manhattan

Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 20:54:55-05

(CNN) — A man from Miami has been arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime after he allegedly punched and kicked a 65-year-old man in midtown Manhattan on Monday, according to New York Police Sgt. Lee Jones.

The suspect, Steven Jorge, 28, also allegedly yelled “F*** you, Jew,” at the victim, Jones said. The incident occurred in the vicinity of East 41st Street and 3rd Avenue, about two blocks away from Grand Central Terminal.

The New York Police Department received a 911 call at 11:40 a.m. Monday about the 65-year-old male victim, who was allegedly punched in the face and kicked after he fell to the ground, Jones said.

The victim was treated at the scene and did not immediately go to the hospital, Jones said.

It was not immediately clear whether Jorge has an attorney.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Wednesday night, calling for New Yorkers to confront anti-Semitism.

“The despicable crimes committed against our Jewish community over the last 24 hours are an attack on ALL New Yorkers,” the mayor tweeted. “The NYPD is actively investigating all of them and will bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement Wednesday saying he was “disgusted” by the incident and he promised to provide state police assistance to the NYPD in its investigation.

“This horrific and cowardly act of anti-Semitism is repugnant to our values, and it’s even more despicable that it occurred over the holidays,” Cuomo said in the statement.

Dov Hikind, a former New York state assemblyman and the founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, told CNN the victim is an Orthodox Jew and said the family of the victim reached out to him Monday night.

Hikind has been critical of how de Blasio has been responding to anti-Semitic incidents across the city.

“I’ve talked to the mayor. He doesn’t know what to do,” Hikind said. “We’ve presented a plan to the mayor. Right now, anti-Semitism, it’s not being dealt with. ‘You condemn, you move on, you condemn the next one.’ I wanted the mayor to declare a state of emergency because of these hate crimes.”

CNN has reached out to de Blasio’s office for comment.

The NYPD reported 166 anti-Semitic incidents from January through September this year. The vast majority of the crimesdo not involve assault, but rather acts of vandalism, with graffiti or swastikas being scrawled on places that include synagogues, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in September, when he was the department’s chief of detectives.

Anti-Semitic incidents are the most common hate crimes reported in the city, currently comprising 53.7% of all reported hate crimes from January to September this year, according to NYPD Crime Statistics.

The NYPD said arrests related to hate crimes are also up compared to the same period last year.