Archive for the tag 'hate crimes'

Engine where he worked. (Source: Google Maps)

Engine 329 in Queens, where Schreiner worked. (Source: Google Maps)

An FDNY firefighter arrested in 2013 for assaulting a black postal worker while yelling racist slurs was ordered to attend diversity classes and complete an anger management course on Wednesday.

The New York Post reports:

Luke Schreiner, 49, was convicted on misdemeanor attempted assault and harassment raps for his ugly attack on mild-mannered Rene Isidore, 57, in a September bench trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

“A fireman is supposed to save lives. Mr. Schreiner almost ended my life instead,” Isidore said in his victim impact statement.

“He grabbed me by my chest and pulled as if I was an animal.”

Schreiner originally faced a hate crime charge for the assault, which stems from a November 13, 2013 incident, but was acquitted on that charge last month because it was not the motivation for the assault, the judge determined.

“The defendant was upset and he struck [the mailman] because he believed the postal truck grazed his vehicle,” the judge said.

He was suspended for a month after the incident, in which he allegedly smacked Isiidore in the face, broke his sunglasses, and shouted racial slurs at him and a black woman passing by – all in front of his own Gerritsen Beach home.

A previous report from the Post likened the court transcriptions to Django Unchained screenplay, with the N-word repeated numerous times.

“You’re nothing but a f—— n—–! That’s why you work for the Postal Service,” testified postal worker Rene Isidore…

“You’re a n—-r​,​ too!” Schreiner yelled at a black passerby, prosecutor Damani Sims said in his opening statement. “You’re all n—–rs! You’re the color of my s–t!”

Schreiner was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor attempted assault and harassment charges.

The Daily News reports that he has two previous assault arrests, including one for road rage.

Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media accounts, via Forward

Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media, via Forward

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a violent attack against the Kings Bay YM-YWHA’s executive director outside an Israel Defense Force fundraiser at the Barclays Center earlier this month, but chose not to charge the man with a hate crime.

Shawn Schraeder, 25, was arrested on Thursday by local police in St. Louis, Missouri, in cooperation with the NYPD. He’s been extradited back to New York and was awaiting arraignment as of yesterday, the Forward reports.

Schraeder is accused of slugging the Kings Bay Y’s executive director, Leonard Petlakh, on October 6, leaving him with a broken nose and in need of stitches.

The incident followed a basketball game that raised funds for the IDF, which drew pro-Palestinian protesters. The activists were booted from the arena after becoming unruly and attempting to unfurl at Palestinian flag. They remained outside where they allegedly accosted Petlakh and other attendees, shouting “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers.” A squabble ensued, which left Petlakh injured.

The local leader called his foes “vile anti-Semitic hooligans masquerading as anti-Zionists” and elected officials condemned the attack as a hate crime.

Schraeder, though, is not being charged with a hate crime; police no longer believe bias was involved, ABC News reports.

Local pols have commended the police for the quick arrest, but are urging them to reconsider a hate crime charge.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased that police arrested a suspect in the brutal attack on Leonard Petlakh but I find it disturbing that they do not plan to charge him with a bias crime.

“Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision. I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.

“According to multiple accounts of the incident, the suspect did not work alone. He was part of a group of anti-Israel protestors whose intentions turned hateful and violent. I encourage law enforcement to pursue the accomplices who fled after the attack and bring them to justice as well.

“As Leonard recovers from this attack, it is incumbent upon all of us to keep the outrage alive and to not ever allow bias-motivated violence to become old news. As this incident and many others like it have demonstrated, anti-Israel rhetoric has a way of crossing the line quickly to anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“We must continue to speak out against this unacceptable behavior and to seek justice for all those who are victimized by the actions of individuals whose violence is motivated by hate.

Councilman Mark Treyger issued a similar statement:

“I applaud the NYPD for recognizing the seriousness of this attack and for making a quick arrest, despite the fact that the suspect was halfway across the country. This sends a clear message that our city will not tolerate violence against anyone and will devote the necessary time and resources to investigating all incidents of hatred. I would also like to thank Mr. Petlakh for his unwavering leadership and devotion to our community and for his hard work over the years to bring people of all faiths together. My thoughts are with him and his family as they continue to recover from this shocking and brutal attack. Once again, we showed that we will rise above these kinds of incidents that serve to divide our borough and city and will always come together to denounce all forms of violence and hatred.”

… While Council Member Treyger is pleased that an arrest has been made in this incident, he believes that hate crimes charges are warranted based on remarks allegedly directed at the victim during the attack.

petlakh

Petlakh (Source: Facebook)

The executive director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA was assaulted last night by what he calls “vile anti-Semitic holligans” outside of the Barclay’s Center, following the Nets – Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game.

Executive Director Leonard Petlakh was attacked while exiting the game with his children and friends, sending him to the hospital for a fractured nose and lacerations under his eye that required eight stitches.

According to a statement from the Kings Bay Y, anti-Israel demonstrators had attempted to disrupt the game by unfurling the Palestinian flag. Barclay’s security forced the protestors to leave after they exchanged heated words with attendees.

Outside, the protestors shouted “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers.” One slugged Petlakh in the face and fled.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident, which was caught on camera.

Petlakh said he hopes that the “vile anti-Semitic hooligans masquerading as anti-Zionists will be caught soon.” He also called for increased police presence at venues that host Israel-related events.

“I am upset that my children witnessed this unprecedented violence, but I hope it sends a strong message to them to stand up for their values as proud Americans and as those who will eventually volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces,” Petlakh said in a statement.

Captain Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

Captain John Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Members and attendees will discuss the anti-Semitic graffiti that was discovered earlier this month on several properties on Exeter Street.

Guest speakers — Captain John Chell of the 61st Police Precinct and Alexander Gurevich, Esq., Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney — will talk about how the NYPD handles these crimes and what punishment is meted out to criminals involved.

There will additionally be updates on Traffic Committee proposals, Build it Back and NY Rising monies allocated to Manhattan Beach.

The meeting is taking place at the same time as a seminar by the Department of Finance about insurance issues (flier to come on this site shortly). For those concerned about missing one meeting or the other, MBCG said they have booked the DOF to attend their June meeting to go over many of the same issues.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

vandals

The New York Police Department has released footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera that appears to show four teenagers believed to be responsible for spraying anti-Semitic graffiti in Manhattan Beach this weekend.

Graffiti depicting a swastika-like icon and messages including “F-ck Jews” were found scrawled on homes, a tree stump and construction site on Saturday morning. The NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime, and has released the surveillance video as they seek help from the public in identifying the vandals.

The video appears to show four teens in hoodies walking down Exeter Street. They make two brief stops within the camera’s range, lighting up their marks with a cellphone or flashlight as they quickly scribble their hate-filled messages and move on.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Here’s the video, via ABC News:

graffiti-mb

Anti-Semitic messages and swastikas were found painted on several properties on Exeter Street in Manhattan Beach over the weekend, and police believe the perps were five white teenage males.

The graffiti was discovered on homes, a tree stump and a construction site early Sunday morning, according to a message sent by the Manhattan Beach Community Group.

JPUpdates reports that surveillance video captured the five suspects spray painting the Exeter Street home of Victor Popovsky:

“We are not going to tolerate this nonsense. Not in this neighborhood and not anywhere else,” said Popovsky, a physics teacher at PS321 in Park Slope.

The teenagers sprayed swastika on a tree and lamp post, as well as hate graffiti at a constructs site.

Council member Chaim Deutsch was seen on the scene Sunday afternoon trying to remove the graffiti with no success. “Words of hate and graffiti of hate will not be tolerated, in this community or in any other neighborhood,” Mr. Deutsch told JP. “As a son of holocaust survivors I take these incidents very personal.”

“We need to educate our youth of what such hate graffiti means,” Mr. Deutsch added.

Deutsch told the outlet that the NYPD is investigating it as a hate crime.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has called for those responsible to be punished for their actions:

“The appearance of hate graffiti in two predominantly Jewish neighborhoods this weekend — here in my district in Manhattan Beach and also in Borough Park — reminds us that we can never educate people enough about anti-Semitism and the dangers of intolerance.

“Whether the graffiti was motivated by hatred, anger, boredom or ignorance the result is exactly the same: it makes residents feel uncomfortable and frightened to be in the place they call home. This is unacceptable under any circumstances, and particularly in neighborhoods where many Holocaust survivors sought refuge.

“The person responsible for this crime must be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows, and all of us must continue to speak out swiftly and decisively against any act of hatred that takes place in our community.”

Source: ah zut/Flickr

The man believed to be behind the Friday morning attack of a Jewish man on the Midwood – Kensington border was not charged with a hate crime, despite calls from local elected officials who say that perpatrators of the so-called “knockout game” are specifically targeting Jewish victims.

The 2:00 a.m. attack on 18th Avenue and East 5th Street saw four men arrested, but Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office only filed charges against Amrit Marajh, who allegedly took the swing. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, menacing and harassment charges, and has posted $750 bail. Police initially arrested him for a hate crime, a charge the district attorney did not press.

The assault is believed to be the latest incident of the violent “knockout game,” in which thugs take down unsuspecting passersby with a sucker punch before running off. The victim in this case was a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man.

Although it appears to be a national phenomenon, local leaders say the Brooklyn version has taken on an ugly racial edge, with the victims being Orthodox Jews living in Crown Heights, Midwood and Kensington.

CBS News reports:

One of the suspects, identified as Amrit Marajh, 28, was charged with aggravated assault as a hate crime, among other counts.

The other three suspects were released without charges.

… “I came across a group of people who were walking towards me, and I was able to hear them speaking loudly about this knockout game,” he said.

Kelly also told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin, “Just prior to it, (the assailants) were talking about the knockout game.”

The victim told investigators he heard one of the attackers say, “I’ll do it to this guy,” right before he was surrounded and punched, sources told CBS 2.

Marajh, through his lawyer, claims that the incident had nothing to do with the knockout game.

The Daily News reports:

Amrit Marajh, 28, had just left a bar on McDonald Ave. on Friday with four friends and was talking about boxing when the knockout game came up, police sources said.

“You can’t do that,” one member of the group said as they came upon Shmuel Perl, 24, according to a source.

Marajh allegedly said, “Yes I can, I’ll do it to this guy right now!” before punching Perl in the face, leaving him bruised.

Perl was not knocked out. According to news reports, all four appeared  intoxicated when they were arrested.

Authorities across the country have begun to question if the game even exists, or if the media is simply connecting a number of random acts that can occur on any given day.

The New York Times reports:

Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”

Still, a diverse set of local elected have come forward to denounce the attacks. As we’ve already reported, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch and Councilman David Greenfield have condemned the attacks, as has Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Later today, Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, and Borough President-elect Eric Adams will hold a press conference doing the same.

Reverend Al Sharpton is also urging his supporters to speak out against the attacks, and is organizing a media campaign.

“If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent,” Sharpton said, according to CBS. “We cannot be silent.”

Sharpton aims to kick off a celebrity-driven public service announcement campaign to denounce the attacks.

kings-plaza

Eleven people turned out at a rally in front of Kings Plaza on Saturday to protest what they’re calling “Justice Reversed,” following the news that hate charges were dropped in a recent case in which black teens allegedly assaulted a white couple while shouting racial epithets.

It was a subdued protest that drew far fewer participants than anticipated, with more than 100 people saying they would attend the event on Facebook, yet less than a dozen showed. The group stood by the Flatbush Avenue entrance, guarded by nearly as many police as there were protesters, and commiserated about the perceived injustice and the safety of the community.

“I missed the [assault] by five minutes. I was walking home with my daughter and it could have happened to anyone,” said Linda Baker, the Mill Basin native who organized the rally. “It’s a hate crime. They screamed racial slurs and it goes both ways. In this neighborhood and in society it just seems to be only recognized when hate is against a minority and hate is not recognized against the white race. It’s ridiculous already.”

The protesters quietly and peacefully handed out fliers to passersby of all backgrounds about the attack, declaring in big, bold font “HATE CRIMES HAVE NO COLOR!!!!”

The group took issue with the news the week before that a grand jury decided to drop hate crime charges against Kashawn Kirton, 18, and Daehrell Finch, 17, two suspects that police arrested in connection with an assault of a couple near Kings Plaza on October 14 that authorites believed was racially motivated.

Kirton and Finch, along with two minors, were arrested shortly after the attack, in which Ronald Russo and his wife, Alanna, were attacked by a large group of black teenagers. The couple, both white, were reportedly subjected to racial epithets, with the suspects allegedly yelling “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

The incident happened as the victims, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street in their car. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. After one of the teens kicked the car Russo got out to assess the damage, and that was when he and his wife were attacked.

Although frustrated by the dropped charges, Baker and others at the event agreed that the details of the case were unclear, and that the grand jury may have had good reason to drop the charges. But they said they were bothered more by the lack of media coverage and outrage from elected officials about similar cases, and said it was indicative of what they believe is an unfair application of bias charges.

“We don’t know the whole story. Maybe they dropped the case because the guy got out of the car and started screaming racial epithets. And if he did then all bets are off as far as I’m concerned,” said John Lore, a Marine Park resident. “I’m very disappointed towards the lack of coverage. This Barney’s thing,” he said, referring to the tabloid frenzy over alleged discrimination at Barney’s and Macy’s retail outlets, “as far as I’m concerned, nothing’s been proved, everything’s an investigation. But what happened with these two people was real, that was very real, and it was deeply personal.”

“If the roles were reversed I’m quite sure this would’ve made headlines and it would have been on the cover of the Daily News. That Barney’s situation is minuscule compared to this,” Lore said.

Many at the rally said they had hoped elected officials would attend. Assemblyman Alan Maisel walked past the protest and talked to police officers, but did not stop to speak with protestors. Sheepshead Bites caught up with him, and he said he was unaware of the group, noting that he was there to attend a rally for Bill de Blasio that occurred earlier in the day. He was not recognized by the protesters.

Asked about the case, Maisel expressed confusion at its cause, or why protesters wanted to hear from elected officials.

“I didn’t bring the case to the grand jury. I didn’t see the evidence. I recommended they try to reach out to the district attorney,” Maisel said. “But what the police say is that the individuals that were attacked did not report any bias when they were questioned initially.”

He added: “I’m not sure what they’re protesting against. Certainly, I don’t know why they’re protesting here. They should protest on Joreleman Street or Adams Street,” where the courthouse and district attorney’s offices are located.

The victims in the case, Ronald and Alanna Russo, were invited to the protest. Baker said she was told through others that they did not want any publicity in connection to the case.

Calls to the district attorney’s office had not been returned as of this writing.

kirton

Kirton

The Daily News is reporting that a grand jury decided to drop the hate crime charges raised against Kashawn Kirton, 18, and Daehrell Finch, 17, two suspects that police arrested in connection with an assault of a couple near Kings Plaza on October 14 that authorites believed was racially motivated.

Kirton and Finch, along with two minors, were arrested shortly after the attack, in which Ronald Russo and his wife, Alanna, were attacked by a large group of black teenagers. The couple, both white, were reportedly subjected to racial epithets, with the suspects allegedly yelling “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

The incident happened as the victims, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street in their car. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. After one of the teens kicked the car Russo got out to assess the damage, and that was when he and his wife were attacked.

Kirton claims that he was wrongly arrested, and not associated with the other teenagers. He said he was shopping at Lowe’s at the time, and was nabbed by police because he matched the description.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Mill Basin couple was yanked from their car near Kings Plaza last week, and beaten by a gang of 10 teenagers allegedly shouting racial slurs.

The incident happened as the victims, Ronald and Alanna Russo, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Monday. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. That drew the teenager’s attentions, and at least one of the teens kicked the car.

According to a criminal complaint first reported on by the Daily News, Russo got out of the car to survey the damage.

Daily News reports what happened next:

Ronald Russo was dragged to the ground. Then he was punched and kicked in the head. He felt more blows all over his body, investigators said. He suffered a fractured nose, a broken septum, a blood clot and abrasions to his shoulder. He was treated and released from Beth Israel Medical Center.

In the midst of the attack, there was a steady chorus of epithets. “White motherf—–!” screamed the attackers, who ranged in age from 12 to 18.

The paper reports that court documents claim the youths also shouted, “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

Alanna Russo, 30, was calling 911 when the 12-year-old girl pulled the woman’s hair and threw her to the ground. The victim’s head slammed into the concrete. She suffered a black eye, bleeding and difficulty breathing, prosecutors said, but she refused medical attention.

Her husband’s iPhone was stolen during the melee, according to cops.

Cops have arrested four teens suspected of being involved in the attack, and are still searching for the remaining suspects.

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