NYPD stepping up presence in Brooklyn after a series of possible anti-Semitic hate crimes this week

Posted at 9:01 PM, Dec 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-28 23:01:25-05

(CNN) — The New York Police Department will increase its presence in several Brooklyn neighborhoods after at least eight possible anti-Semitic incidents this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Friday morning.

More police will be seen in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, de Blasio said. Police will increase visits to houses of worship and “other critical areas in the community,” the mayor said.

“Anyone who terrorizes our Jewish community WILL face justice,” de Blasio said. “Anti-Semitism is an attack on the values of our city — and we will confront it head-on.”

The mayor’s announcement follows a string of incidents that took place this week, all during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

Man allegedly punched and kicked

The first incident happened Monday morning, when a 65-year-old mantold police he was punched and kicked by another man who yelled “F*** you, Jew,” according to the New York Police Department. The incident occurred about two blocks from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

One suspect, Steven Jorge, 28, has been arrested in connection to the incident. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

Teens allegedly strike man with children

Police received a second call Monday at 8:40 p.m. about an assault in Brooklyn.

When officers arrived, they were told by a 67-year-old man that a group of teenagers allegedly approached his 6-year-old son and another 7-year-old boy from behind, striking them inside the lobby of a residential building.

The teenagers ran away, and the victims were treated for minor injuries on the scene.

A man allegedly had a drink thrown at him

Two more incidents were reported Tuesday, one at 1:40 a.m. and the other at 5:12 p.m., both in Brooklyn.

The early morning incident occurred in front of 332 Kingston Avenue. A group of unidentified individuals allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs at a 25-year-old man as he walked down the street, he told police. One of the individuals threw his drink at him, he said.

The victim was uninjured, but the individuals fled the scene.

Tuesday’s second incident happened at 1454 Union Street, where a 56-year-old man alleged he was walking when a group of people approached him and one of them punched him.

A man was allegedly punched in the face

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating another incident that took place on Christmas Day.

Shortly after 1 a.m., police said, a 40-year-old dressed in “traditional religious clothing” was walking home when an unknown individual approached him and blocked his path.

The victim attempted to walk around when the unknown individual punched him in the face and fled. The victim suffered a laceration to his lip but refused medical attention, police said.

Woman charged for allegedly hitting victim in the face with a bag

Then on Thursday, police charged a woman with assault as a hate crime after she allegedly attacked a 34-year-old Jewish woman in front of her 3-year-old child.

Ayana Logan, 42, is accused of using her bag to hit the woman in the face, NYPD spokesman Lt. Thomas Antonetti told CNN. Logan has been charged with assault as a hate crime, acting in a manner injurious to a child under the age of 17, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incidents.

More incidents reported Friday, police say

NYPD officials confirmed to CNN they were investigating two more incidents that took place Friday morning.

Shortly after midnight, a woman allegedly slapped three women in the head and the face in Brooklyn, NYPD officials told CNN. Tiffany Harris, 30, was arrested and charged with harassment as a hate crime. CNN is attempting to reach an attorney for Harris for comment.

Police are looking into a seventh possible anti-Semitic incident that took place just hours later. A black man walked into the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn shortly before 7 a.m., police told CNN, and allegedly threatened to shoot and kill people inside the center.

Officials are looking for the man and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.

‘Horrific, cowardly,’ says governor

Following the first four incidents, de Blasio on Wednesday night called 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, before the reports of the Brooklyn incidents, saying he was “disgusted” by the alleged attack in Manhattan. He promised to provide state police assistance to the NYPD in the 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.

Anti-Semitic incidents are most common hate crime in the city

Dov Hikind, a former New York state assemblyman and the founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, has been critical of how de Blasio has responded to anti-Semitic attacks in 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.

There have been 166 anti-Semitic incidents from January through September of this year, the NYPD reported.

Most of these crimes don’t involve assault, but acts of vandalism, like graffiti or swastikas scrawled on places like synagogues, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in September, when he was the department’s chief of detectives.

But anti-Semitic incidents are the most common hate crimes reported in the city. They make up 53.7% of all reported hate crimes, according to NYPD Crime Statistics.

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