‘It is unacceptable’: Mayor vows city will avenge anti-Semitic hate crimes in Brooklyn

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Mayor Bill de Blasio comforts Rabbi Freilich on May 23.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed on Sunday that justice will be served after meeting with members of the Jewish community in Brooklyn to discuss the recent slew of anti-Semitic hate crimes, stating that the city will not “turn a blind eye to this hatred.” 

The mayor joined NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison along with Jewish leaders at the 66th Precinct in Borough Park to condemn a series of anti-Semitic attacks and threats. 

“The attacks we saw in Brooklyn last night were unconscionable. They were pure, unbridled anti-Semitism. And we do not need to look far too back in history to know what happens if we let that hatred go unchecked,” de Blasio said via Twitter on Sunday. 

Police say both incidents under investigation took place on Saturday evening, one of which saw three men leave a blue Toyota Camry and harass four victims, who fled into a Borough Park synagogue.

Police said the trio then hammered on the entrance while making anti-Semitic threats before fleeing the scene and vandalizing a nearby vehicle in the process.

The second episode occurred on Ocean Parkway in Kensington. According to police sources, two young men were accosted by two other men who authorities say attacked the teens, dealing brutal punches.

EMS treated the victims at the 66th Precinct.  

The Mayor speaks at the 66 Precinct. Photo by Dean Moses

A furious, resolute de Blasio said the city will punish the bigots responsible.

“Let me clear, anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in New York City. I want everyone to hear this loud and clear. We will stomp out anti-Semitism anywhere we find it. It is unacceptable. This is a city that is for everyone and anyone who perpetrates an act of bias and prejudice they will be found,” de Blasio said, adding, “We’ve talked about it in detail. They will be found. They will be prosecuted. They will suffer the consequences.”

In addition to sitting down with members of the Jewish community, de Blasio also spoke with some of the victims from this incident after the conference, stating that acts of violence like these cannot happen again. 

It was also brought to the Mayor’s attention that the teens had called 911, but no one officers arrived at the scene.

“The answer to any situation like this is to put a massive presence out and make very, very clear to any potential perpetrators that they will be stopped. That didn’t happen the way it needed to and that’s on all of us and we need to fix it immediately,” de Blasio said, assuring New Yorkers that hatred has no place in the city. 

Harrison stated that there was a miscommunication between borough chiefs in regards to reassigning officers and shared that in the coming days, there will be an increase of NYPD officers within Jewish communities and around houses of worship. 

“You will see a larger presence of police officers in our communities of concern. We’re deploying our critical response command officers to these communities. We’re going to have our strategic response group deployed to these communities. We’re also reaching out to our mobile field forces and making sure that they’re in these communities as well,” Harrison said, emphasizing the number of officers that will be present and that patrol cars will have their turret lights on while driving throughout target areas in hopes of deterring crime. 

The mayor calls this plan an aggressive action toward combating hatred. 

“All they are asking is to be safe in their own neighborhood. Anybody who breaks the safety of this community and attacks people because of who they are must be punished. It is as simple as that. There is a stain of anti-Semitism that still lurks in this city, in this country, and around the world that has been here for thousands of years. Every time people try to say it’s gone away, it hasn’t gone away. Anti-Semitism is too alive and well and it must be stopped. You don’t stop it with words. You stop it with actions. The NYPD will be out in force,” de Blasio said. 

The Mayor leaves the Precinct after meeting with victims. Photo by Dean Moses

Rabbi Freilich made a point during the meeting that when those of Jewish faith are observing their Shabbat, they do not use their phones or electronics, making them especially vulnerable to crimes. He and other Jewish leaders are imploring the NYPD and Mayor’s office to provide a much needed level of protection. 

Victims who were harassed at a local synagogue meet with the mayor. Photo by Dean Moses

As the mayor left the precinct, he was asked about his meeting with the victims, to which he responded by promising to do everything in his power to not only catch the perpetrators, but to also employ preventative measures. 

NYPD officials and de Blasio asked the public to contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS with any information regarding the hate crimes. All calls are kept confidential.