Five haredi Orthodox Jewish men were indicted for attacking a gay black man in Brooklyn.
The five were charged Wednesday in New York state Supreme Court in Brooklyn with gang assault and other counts for the attack on December 1, but not for hate crimes, WABC-TV reported. They were associated with a civilian neighborhood watch group, the Williamsburg Safety Patrol Unit, or Shomrim.
Taj Patterson, a 22-year-old student at the New York City College of Technology, said he was walking through the heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Williamsburg on his way home to a nearby neighborhood when more than 12 Hasidic men attacked him while shouting anti-gay slurs. He said he suffered a broken eye socket, torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knees and ankles.
After an initial beating, Patterson attempted to get away, but his assailants, now numbering about 15, held him down. They fled only after a passerby threatened to take pictures of them, CBS New York reported.
The five men indicted are Aharon Hollender, 28; Abraham Winkler, 39; Mayer Herskovic, 21; Pinchas Braver, 19; and Joseph Fried, 25.
The suspects claimed an alibi, saying they were looking for vandals who were damaging cars in the neighborhood. But according to CBS, no vandalism was reported that night.
If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison, WABC reported.