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Man convicted for hate crime after strangling a Rabbi in East Flatbush

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A Brooklyn man faces up to 15 years in prison after a hate crime conviction for beating and strangling a rabbi in East Flatbush in 2018. 

James Vincent, 40, was convicted of attempted first-degree strangulation as a hate crime, second-degree strangulation as a hate crime, attempted second-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree assault as a hate crime, and fourth-degree criminal mischief, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

“Today’s verdict speaks to Brooklyn’s resolve to combatting and rooting out hate from our communities,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “The defendant has been brought to justice for this senseless, disturbing and hateful crime against a man simply walking home from his synagogue. Brooklyn’s strength is in its diversity and I remain committed to vigorously prosecuting bias-motivated violence.”

The DA’s office said that on April 21 of 2018, Rabbi Menachem Moskowitz, 50 at the time, was walking home from Sabbath prayers near E. 46th Street and Rutland Road in East Flatbush, when Vincent passed by on the sidewalk and began cursing him out.

“You f**king Jew, you Jews took my house and mortgage,” Vincent is alleged to have said to Moskowitz.

When the rabbi ignored him and continued on his way, Vincent ran up to him and began to strangle him, before punching him in his face and torso. The fracas was stopped by the intervention of two bystanders, after which Vincent fled.

Moskowitz suffered significant injuries to his face and body.

Vincent was arrested six days later on April 27, after being identified via surveillance cameras and after it was discovered he purchased ice cream with a credit card in his own name soon after the attack.

Vincent is due to be sentenced on December 13.

In a statement to Hamodia, Moskowitz said he hopes the verdict will signal a safer environment for Jews in the borough.

“I want to thank Klal Yisroel [the Jewish people] worldwide for chizzuk [their support] and for helping me and my family get through this difficult time,” Moskowitz told Hamodia. “I hope this verdict leads to the streets of Brooklyn becoming safer.”

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