Couple Charged With Hate Crime in Brooklyn for Harassing and Blaming Spread of COVID-19 on Jews

'We don't accept bias in New York City,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his morning briefing. 'Any act of hate crime, we pursue it'

Marcy Oster
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Marcy Oster

Two people were arrested for allegedly ripping face masks off of identifiably Jewish people in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City.

The couple were identified as Paulo Pinho, 35, and his wife, Clelia Pinho, 46, of Queens. They were arrested on a charge of aggravated harassment as a hate crime, according to the NYPD

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"You’re the reason why we’re getting sick,” one of the suspects allegedly said, according to police.

They stopped their car after noticing a group of Hasidic Jews on the corner, and got out while shouting what police described as anti-Semitic slurs, and complaining that many were not wearing masks or practicing appropriate social distancing. They then tried to remove the face masks of several men.

Video posted on Twitter by Belaaz shows police and crowds gathering late Sunday night after an incident.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident unacceptable and said the NYPP would ensure there are consequences for the suspects.

"We don't accept bias in New York City," he said during his morning briefing. "Any act of hate crime, we pursue it."

Haaretz added to this report