Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

New York Gay Man Attacked by Hasidic Jewish Safety Patrol Members; Five Arrested So Far

Taj Patterson, 22, gay man savagely attacked by Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, NY shouting anti-gay slurs (NY Post images).

Taj Patterson, 22, gay man savagely attacked by Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, NY shouting anti-gay slurs (NY Post images).

Williamsburg, New York – A gang of Hasidic Jews, some identified as members of the Satmar Hasidic Shomrim (Safety Patrol), shouted homophobic  and racial slurs as they brutally beat a gay black man in Williamsburg on December 1.  The victim, 22-year-old Taj Patterson, suffered multiple injuries including a crushed eye socket, a torn retina, and cuts to his right knee and hip.  This week, five hasidim were arrested for the attack by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.  They have been charged with Gang Assault in the First Degree and a variety of other charges, though at this point a hate crimes charge has not been lodged, even considering the report of witnesses that a barrage of homophobic slurs accompanied the assault.  The charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 years for each assailant proved guilty.  Failed Messiah, a blog covering news in the Hasidic community since 2004, identified those arrested as  Pinchas Braver, 20, Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, and Joseph Fried, 25. Two of the alleged assailants fled from the United States to Israel immediately following the incident, but were apprehended there.

The five suspects and a number of other hasidim who allegedly participated in the attack are all members of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community, a large and influential ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect with pre-World War II roots in Hungary.  According to A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, the Satmar Hasidim number at least 45,000 in Williamsburg today.  The Shomrim is a volunteer neighborhood watch drawn from the Satmar community.  Activists in Williamsburg quickly denied the involvement of the Shomrim in the attack, but according to the Brooklyn Paper, the denials left room to conclude that some of the attackers were indeed members of the watch group.  An Orthodox rabbi who decried the attack did not mention the  participation of the Shomrim in the December attack.  Rabbi David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, said, “The bedrock of the Williamsburg community is tolerance for one and another. Any act of violence by any individual, against anyone, for whatever reason, is condemned in the strongest possible terms.”  

EDGE on the Net reports that Patterson is a fashion student studying at the New York City College of Technology.  While he says he does not remember much from the attack that occurred with swift savagery, he clearly recalls at least one of his assailants shouting, “Stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down,” as he kicked Patterson in the face.  Since the horrific incident, Patterson has undergone surgery to repair his torn retina.

The true heroine of the whole bloody affair was the driver of Bus 57 who slammed on her brakes and stepped out of her bus snapping pictures of the assault with her cell phone, according to the New York Post.  The NYPD say that the attacking gang fled the scene when they realized she was taking their pictures.

April 25, 2014 Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Brooklyn, Gang violence, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hasidic Jews, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Israel, LGBTQ, New York, New York City, Racism, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Dead, Many Wounded in Tel Aviv Anti-LGBT Rampage: Special Comment

LGBT killings Tel Aviv August 1The scope of this blog, LGBT hate crimes murders in the U.S. notwithstanding, the attack of a masked gunman on an LGBT youth nightclub in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday night merits special attention.  The Unfinished Lives Project express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and entire LGBT community of Tel Aviv, and join all those outraged by this act of naked hatred and unreasoning prejudice against people because they are different.  Like the United States, Israel has a heritage of cultural diversity, and values tolerance.  This outbreak of raw anti-LGBT bias flies in the face of everything both countries stand for.  Nitzan Horowitz, the only openly gay member of the Knesset, described the killings as a “hate crime.”  Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have condemned the attack.  Unfinished Lives supports the efforts to bring the gunman to justice, and prosecute him to the full extent of the law.  We also support any efforts within the law to root out this lethal prejudice.  Israel has had violent clashes over LGBT expression before.  In 2005, a radical ultra-orthodox critic of a Jerusalem gay pride march attacked and stabbed three marchers.  Incitement to violence prepared the way for both attacks, and though members of the ultra-orthodox Shas party have condemned the attack, their anti-gay hate rhetoric played a part in the toxic atmosphere that made a killer decide to act on prejudice.  The Shas party, and all other purveyors of hate speech in the State of Israel, need to take a step back, refrain immediately from inciting rhetoric, and make amends to the LGBT community.  But we at the Unfinished Lives Project are not holding our breath.  Meanwhile, LGBT youth in Israel have received a message written in the blood of three murdered young people: you are not safe.  It is up to the leaders and the people of the nation to insure that something like this will never happen in Israel again.

August 3, 2009 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Israel, Protests and Demonstrations, religious intolerance, Special Comments | , , , , , | Comments Off on Two Dead, Many Wounded in Tel Aviv Anti-LGBT Rampage: Special Comment


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