By Elijah Westbrook
NEW YORK (WCBS) — The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating several antisemitic incidents over the weekend. Police say they are looking for several suspects.
As CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook reports, two of them were last seen at a gas station at Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway in Flatbush.
The NYPD released surveillance video of one of the attacks that occurred just after 11:30 p.m. Friday on Avenue L near East 32nd Street. It shows one suspect menacing a 22-year-old Jewish man, before police said the suspect slapped him in the face, knocking off his yarmulke.
“Out of nowhere, all of a sudden, boom. Clocks him right in the head,” said Bob Moskowitz, coordinator for the Flatbush Shomrim.
The suspect then runs back into a gray minivan.
“They were laughing the whole time,” Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz said about 15 minutes after the attack, two suspects pulled into the gas station, where they targeted a 14-year-old boy.
“Started talking to him and threatening him, you know with a threatening voice, and started chasing him,” he said. “They ran halfway across into the intersection at Kings Highway, and then they let him go. But the kid was petrified.”
Mayor Eric Adams over the weekend tweeted in part, “Make no mistake. An attack on our Jewish community is an attack on every New Yorker. We will catch the perpetrators of this assault.”
“We can’t let this be the norm… People saying, ‘Oh, they’re getting used to it.’ We can’t get used to any of this. Hatred is not something to get used to,” Councilwoman Lynn Schulman said.
“It’s just important that we talk about it, and we call it out for what it is. We need to figure out a way to make this stop, because it’s really unacceptable,” said Rabbi Ashie Schreier, from Young Israel of Forest Hills.
That sentiment is being felt across other Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks antisemitic incidents nationwide. The executive director told CBS2 the number of hate crimes is getting out of control.
“We’ve responded to incidents in 47 states, and New York was number one across the country in terms of antisemitic incidents by far,” Scott Richman said. “Within New York, the vast majority of incidents take place in New York City.”
The ADL partnered with the NYPD to offer a reward of up to $5,000, leading to an arrest and conviction of the suspects.
Meanwhile, police are also investigating antisemitic graffiti at a Jewish-owned dental lab in Queens.
A local rabbi called police after noticing the vandalism Saturday night on a window of the lab on Harrow Street in Forest Hills. The owner told CBS2 someone was working inside and the lights were on at the time of the incident, but the person did not see what happened.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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