Five Hasidic men were arrested Wednesday for a disturbing attack against a gay black man in a case initially investigated as a bias attack, police sources said.
Fashion student Taj Patterson, 22, has said he was headed to his Fort Greene home after a night of partying last December when over a dozen ultra-Orthodox men assaulted him on Flushing Ave. in Williamsburg while shouting anti-gay epithets.
Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25, were charged with gang assault and other counts, but not with any hate crimes, authorities said Wednesday.
“We simply cannot allow anyone walking on the streets of Brooklyn to be knocked to the ground, stomped and brutally beaten,” said Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson.
The group, at least two of whom belonged to a volunteer patrol called Shomrim, were looking for someone who vandalized cars in the area and stopped Patterson, prosecutors said.
Even though the vandalism report was unfounded, they allegedly started pummeling the victim, authorities said.
“These indictments send a clear message that acts of vigilantism are unacceptable and cannot be condoned by the NYPD,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement.
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