A crazed hate crime on E. 70th Street in Bergen Beach has become a chicken-and egg-scenario: everyone’s sure the bias attack took place, but no one knows who hit whom first.
As investigators continue to hammer out the details, a judge released suspect Simchon Schwartz, an Orthodox Jew, on his own recognizance last week — but issued an order of protection to his Turkish neighbor — the alleged victim, Selda Turan.
Police say Turan was outside of her home, between Avenues L and M, just before 7 pm on June 25 when Schwartz stormed up to her, doused her with beer, and pushed her into a car while calling her an “Arab terrorist.”
Turan’s husband, Mustafa, then intervened, and Schwartz allegedly punched him — leaving him with a deep cut that required six stitches.
Schwartz then allegedly keyed Mustafa’s car, but ran to a nearby synagogue as cops were called. When cops arrived at the shul, Schwartz refused to stand up and be handcuffed. He then allegedly fought with police as they took him to the police station — kicking out a police cruiser’s window in the ensuing struggle.
Attempts to reach Schwartz’s attorney was unsuccessful, but Schwartz’s family members contend that the Turan fired the first shot in this odd Hatfields-vs.-McCoys scenario: Schwartz’s daughter Mazo told the New York Daily News that Mustafa Turan had allegedly punched Schwartz hours earlier, uttering an anti-Semitic slur.
“My father was walking down the street. They exchanged words and [Mustafa Turan] hit him,” she said. “We couldn’t call the cops because it was Shabbas.”
Police say they have no record of the earlier attack.
Despite the blame game that is hovering over the hate crime, local elected and religious leaders are decrying the attack — claiming that relationships between Brooklyn’s Turkish and Jewish residents are stronger than ever.
“The real headline should be about the thousands of Brooklyn neighbors of different ethnicities and religions who live side by side peacefully each day,” Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) said at a press conference called by the Jewish Community Relations Council.
“This community has always been together and will always remain that way. Isolated incidents like this may occur, but we, as leaders, have a responsibility to remind the public that such acts are not commonplace and will not be tolerated.”
Mohammad Razvi, the executive director of the Council of People’s Organization, agreed.
“We’re requesting that justice be done in this case, but we want to assure everyone that this is not an epidemic,” Razvi said.
“This does not reflect the relationships in our communities.”