N.Y.C. Ups Policing in Jewish Areas After Spate of Attacks, Mayor Announces

Early morning attack on women in a Brooklyn neighborhood is the latest in a chain of assaults on Jews in the city during the Hanukkah holiday

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New York Police Department officers stand guard at Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York, U.S., December 11, 2019.
New York Police Department officers stand guard at Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York, U.S., December 11, 2019.Credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ/ REUTERS

New York City is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations after possibly anti-Semitic attacks during the Hanukkah holiday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said after the latest episode Friday.

Besides making officers more visible in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, police will boost visits to houses of worship and some other places, the mayor tweeted.

“Anti-Semitism is an attack on the values of our city — and we will confront it head-on,” de Blasio wrote.

Around the city, police have gotten at least five reports this week of attacks possibly propelled by anti-Jewish bias.

The latest happened around 12:40 A.M. Friday, when a woman slapped three other women in the face and head after encountering them on a Crown Heights corner, police said. The victims, who range in age from 22 to 31, suffered minor pain, police said.

Tiffany Harris, 30, was arrested on a hate-crime harassment charge.

She was awaiting arraignment Friday morning. It wasn't clear whether she had a lawyer who could comment on the charges, and no working telephone number for Harris could immediately be found.

On Monday, a Miami man was charged with hate-crime assault after police said he made an anti-Semitic remark and attacked a man in midtown Manhattan. The 65-year-old victim was punched and kicked, suffering cuts, police said.

He had been wearing a yarmulke, according to former state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has founded a group dedicated to combating anti-Semitism.

Steven Jorge, 28, is being held without bail, and a judge ordered a psychiatric exam for him, court records show. A message was left Friday for Jorge's lawyer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a state hate crimes task force to help police investigate the attack, calling it “a horrific and cowardly act of anti-Semitism.”

“It’s even more despicable that it occurred over the holidays,” the Democratic governor said in a statement Wednesday. Hanukkah began Sunday.

The New York Police Department's Hate Crime Task Force is also investigating three other episodes that may have been motivated by anti-Semitism:

A man reported that a group of teenagers converged on his 6-year-old son and another boy, 7, and hit them from behind in a Williamsburg apartment building lobby Monday night. The attackers fled.

in the early hours of Tuesday, a group of youths shouted expletives and anti-Semitic slurs at a 25-year-old man walking down the street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, the Shomrim neighborhood watch group told Yeshiva World News.

When the man took out his phone to film the incident, one of the suspects threw a beverage at him and continued shouting anti-Semitic remarks, according to the Yeshiva World News. The suspects fled.

The third incident was an apparent assault of a 56-year-old Jewish man, also in Crown Heights, on Tuesday afternoon. The Anti-Defamation League has offered $10,000 for information on those responsible. A suspect punched the man in the back of the head while another filmed the attack, according to the Yeshiva World News. No arrests have been made.

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