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Man charged with hate crime in attack on Orthodox man in Brooklyn, NYPD says

Enrique Gerena, 32, of Brooklyn, has been charged with assault as a hate crime.

A man punched a Orthodox Jewish man in

A man punched a Orthodox Jewish man in the back of the head in Williamsburg Friday. The NYPD released surveillance footage, above, of the suspect. Photo Credit: NYPD

A 32-year-old man was charged on Tuesday with assaulting an Orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn last week, police said.

Enrique Gerena, of Brooklyn, is accused of punching a 33-year-old man in the back of the head near the corner of Throop Avenue and Wallabout Street in Williamsburg at about 6:40 p.m. on Friday. He was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime on Tuesday, just two days after the NYPD released surveillance video of the attack.

After a second alleged hate crime took place in Brooklyn over the weekend, the Anti-Defamation League offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspects. It was unclear Tuesday evening if a tip from the public lead to the arrest of Genera.

In the second incident, police said a 42-year-old man walking to synagogue on Saturday morning was attacked on East New York Avenue, near Albany Avenue, in East Flatbush about 6:30 a.m. Two men approached him from behind, punched him and then ran off. 

“We remain increasingly concerned by the number of alleged unprovoked assaults on Orthodox Jewish individuals in Brooklyn in recent weeks,” Evan R. Bernstein, the regional director of the ADL for New York and New Jersey, said in a statement on Sunday. “We are deeply troubled by this. Our Orthodox communities are particularly vulnerable, and Jewish communities are feeling increasingly afraid.”

The attacks came just days after a 9-year-old Jewish boy was punched in the face by a teenager in Williamsburg. The boy, who police said was  wearing traditional Jewish attire, was walking home about 6 p.m. on Nov. 25 when he was attacked.

“Anti-Semitism, or hate of any kind, has zero place in our communities,” Attorney General-Elect Letitia James said in a statement. “I am deeply disturbed by these recent acts of hate against New Yorkers, acts that must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators held to the fullest extent of the law. Today and every day, I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community and urge anyone with information about these heinous crimes to come forward.”

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