Police are investigating several assaults and possible hate crimes committed in Brooklyn on Wednesday, possibly in relation to the escalating conflict in Israel and Palestine.
According to the NYPD, police first responded to a 911 call reporting a group of individuals with an imitation firearm outside of the B’nai Yosef Synagogue on Ocean Parkway in Gravesend just before 8 p.m.
Upon arrival, officers observed two teen boys in possession of a fake gun and took them into custody without incident. According to the New York Post, the boys fired what appeared to be a pellet gun at outside of the synagogue. Both were issued criminal court summonses.
Less than an hour later, cops responded to a 911 call of an assault-in-progress at the intersection of Flushing and Classon avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Preliminary investigations determined that four men were standing at the location of the crime when an unidentified man on a two-wheeled vehicle drove into one of the four individuals who, according to a report by ABC7, was holding a Palestinian flag.
The victim, a 34-year-old male, was then hit with a flag by the assailant, before the assailant fled. The victim refused medical attention at the scene. As of Friday morning, no arrests have been made in relation to the incient.
The same night, a group of three victims — an an 18-year-old male, a 19-year-old male and a 21-year-old male — were assaulted and threatened by a group of men on the sidewalk in front of 438 86th St. in Bay Ridge.
Police said a group of men driving down 86th Street spotted the victims and yelled out anti-Palestinian statements while waving an Israeli flag. The driver then parked in front of the three victims and several men got out of the vehicle, still making anti-Palestinian remarks.
The men then assaulted the 18-year-old victim, punching and kicking him repeatedly, and harassed the two other victims before jumping back into the vehicle and speeding away.
The 18-year-old victim sustained minor injuries, but refused medical attention at the scene. No other injuries were reported and the NYPD Hate Crime task force is investigating the incident.
Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents the 43rd District in Bay Ridge, issued a joint statement with state Sen. Andrew Gounardes condemning the attacks.
“Escalating violence in Israel and Palestine has inflamed tensions here at home,” the pols said. “But we cannot allow these conflicts to cause violence or hateful rhetoric on the streets of New York City. No one deserves to be attacked for their identity or their beliefs and we won’t stand for it in our community or anywhere.”
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