Borough Park is in a state of fear and shock after a Chasidic man was brutally attacked while trying to cross the street, on his way to shul. The incident occurred at the intersection of 13th Ave. and 46th Street in Borough Park at around 7:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 14th. Surveillance video shows a car service driver abruptly halting his black sedan, and emerging to hit the victim violently in the head multiple times. “He was screaming at him that he hates the Jews and he would like to kill all the Jews,’” said a local shopkeeper, who witnessed the attack. The victim attempted to flee, running into the 46th Street intersection, but the assailant continued to beat and punch him in the head repeatedly, and threw him onto the pavement to continue his assault. A second Chasidic man, who was passing by, tried to intervene but was chased away.
Police Arrested Farrukh Afzal, 37, of Staten Island was charged him with assault, criminal mischief and harassment for the attack, which took place at around 7:30AM near 46th Street and 13th Avenue.
He was initially hit with hate charges as well, but prosecutors have decided to label this a mere “road rage” incident and NOT a hate crime. This despite the victim and witnesses saying Afzal shouted “Allah, Allah”, said he wanted to “kill all Jews” and made references to Israel throughout the attack, according to Yeshiva World News.
As reported by VIN News, the assailant was finally tackled by passersby and held by Shomrim, until police arrived at the scene. Assemblyman Dov Hikind called the attack “an absolute horror.” “You watch that video, there are no words to describe what you see in that video,” he said.
The victim was identified as 62-year-old Lipa Schwartz. “In that instant I saw death for my eyes,” he told the website Boro Park 24. “I saw two choices, either I fight back and wrestle myself out of this attack.” Schwartz was treated by Maimonides Medical Center for his injuries, and has been released. “if he had a knife I would be dead by now”, said Schwartz. “I’m out of the hospital with some minor bruises, but the trauma of being attacked by someone who seemed to want revenge will stay with me forever,” Schwartz said.
On Sunday night, Afzal’s bail was set at $15,000 bond or $7,500 cash, by a judge in Brooklyn Criminal Court. The criminal complaint filed with the court does not yet state that Afzal was charged under New York’s hate crimes law. The attacker is a driver with Church Avenue Car Service. A manager at the car service company said that the company was cooperating with the police, and had no further information at this time.
Community Board 12 chairman, Yidel Perlstein, said that the NYPD will investigate the case thoroughly. Similarly, Senator Simcha Felder expressed his outrage. “It is unbelievable that someone walking in the early morning should have to worry about almost being beaten to death,” said Felder. “I am asking the police department and calling on District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to investigate this matter very seriously.”
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