DA to bigots: Watch out

Branching out: District Attorney Ken Thompson is targeting attacks on the diversity that makes Brooklyn Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn’s top lawman is getting tough on hate.

Hate crimes are up across the borough, particularly those targeting Jews and Muslims, and District Attorney Ken Thompson has created a special unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting bigoted acts. Addressing the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, the prosecutor appealed to the assembled businesspe­ople’s concern for the bottom line.

“Bias-related violence is ugly,” he said. “It threatens to rip apart the fabric of society, and it’s bad for business. The hate crimes unit is there to show our resolve as a community of different neighborhoods, different cultures, that no matter who you are as you walk down the streets of Brooklyn that you a free of the fear of being attacked because of who you are.”

In early September, Thompson tapped Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner to head up the unit, called the Civil Rights Bureau. Fliedner is a veteran at the District Attorney’s Office, having worked under former borough prosecutors Charles Hynes and Elizabeth Holtzman from 1987 to 1992, and again starting in 2006. Before his appointment, Fliedner had worked in the sex crimes and homicide bureaus, and led the major crimes bureau since 2011. The legal eagle is also the office’s liaison to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Fliedner said he will hit the ground running in his latest position.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with this appointment,” Fliedner said in a statement. “I am determined to help make the Civil Rights Bureau in the Brooklyn DA’s office the finest in the country.”

A number of high-profile hate crimes have occurred in the borough this year, including a rash of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attacks and harassment incidents that flared up over the summer during the war in and around Gaza and advances in Syria and Iraq by the so-called Islamic State extremist group.

Anti-Semitic crimes went from eight a month to 18 a month citywide starting in July, and there have been 17 crimes targeting Muslims so far this year, compared to seven during the same period last year, according to a Sept. 17 WNYC report.

In one instance, cops say a combat veteran kicked a pregnant Pakistani mother in Marine Park and told her to “go back to Afghanistan.” In another, a vandal spray-painted a swastika on the American Legion building in Gravesend.

Attacks have also targeted gay people, as in the Saturday shooting in Bushwick where, according to police, three men harassed a group dressed in drag, then one opened fire, hitting a member of the group in the buttocks.

A police spokeswoman emphasized that many crimes categorized as bias incidents are not acts of physical violence but rather consist of vandalism and harassment.

There have been 105 reported hate crimes in Brooklyn so far this year, a 38 percent jump from the 76 reported crimes in the same time period in 2013.

The increase is new, but Brooklyn led the city in hate crimes from 2008 to 2012, with 607 in that period record compared to Manhattan, the borough with the next-highest total, 383.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Homey from Crooklyn says:
Not one mention of the Knockout Game?
Oct. 3, 2014, 8:18 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
knockout game is about youth preying upon the weak and perhaps old.
Oct. 3, 2014, 8:27 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
@bk - so that is not a hate crime -lordy
Oct. 3, 2014, 8:54 am
Tom from Park Slope says:
...which is a bias crime against a particular group of citizens, the elderly or handicapped.
Oct. 3, 2014, 9:30 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Criminal acts should be prosecuted, not thought crimes.
Oct. 3, 2014, 4:30 pm
jay from nyc says:
John, your comment that is a typical misunderstanding of the law. A regular crime is directed against the individual, a hate crime is directed against all members of that community/protected class, thus its magnitude is larger.
To put it in simple terms, its like the difference between stealing 100 dollars, a misdemeanor, or stealing 5,000 dollars in an armed robbery, its a higher charge.
If the klan burns a cross on a black person's front yard, that is a message not just to the single black person, but also to all blacks, and to those who would stand with them against the Klan, that their life is in danger, hence the higher charge of a hate crime.
A thought crime does not exist in the penal law in the United States and is a misapplied term by people who do not understand the law, or by those who think that minorities, disabled, religious, gay, and women don't deserve protection.
Oct. 3, 2014, 4:51 pm
Duck sqaud from Brighton Beach says:
"Hate crimes" are always enforced in a racially biased manner---which is the biggest irony of it all. A large number of black-on-white attacks aren't classified as "hate crimes" even if they are clearly racially motivated. For example, that black guy in Oklahoma who beheaded a woman; he was fired for getting into an argument when he said he hated all white people. He then came back to work, killed one white woman and then attempted to behead another white woman. Yet it's still not being classified as a hate crime? Our nation's justice system is a joke, and these unevenly applied "hate crime" laws are the punchline.
Oct. 4, 2014, 4:16 am
jay from nyc says:
Duck squad that is an absolute falsehood that is typically propagated by those who have racist anmius and use that falsehood as a justification for their racist beliefs.
The largest hate crime investigation involved that klan and the killing of two white people, so just stop already with the nonsense.
As for Alton Nolan, the OK "beheader" the crime occurred on Sept 30, or about 4 days ago, so far he has been charged with first degree murder, but the investigation is ongoing.
The FBI is also involved and so there will be a determination over whether or not additional federal charges will be filed.
As for the hate crime aspect of the case, a determination needs to be made as to whether Alton's crime was directed at Americans in general, and if so, then it is not a hate crime, but rather a terrorist attack, and he can get the jose padillia treatment if that determination is made. A terror attack is not the same thing as a hate crime and they are different charges. If you are as up on the justice system as you claim to be, you would know that duck squad.
He could also be charged with a hate crime, as well as an act of terrorism, on top of the first degree murder charges. There might be separate state and federal trials on different charges, which is not uncommon in these kind of situations.
In addition, there will need to be a determination as to whether or not the death penalty will be sought. All of these things are based on the facts of the case which are still being developed, and no Duck Squad, unless you were personally present when the crime was committed, and you personally knew Alton Nolan's background and history, then you do NOT know the facts of this case, so stop assuming things that have not yet been proven.
The FBI is looking into whether or not he has connections to terror groups, and if so maybe they get him to give up information that can save Americans by taking the death penalty off the table.
So Duck squad, this investigation is far from over and your comments really only reflects your 2nd grade level of understanding of the justice system and couter-terror tactics, and is really all about your own racial bias rather than factual reality.
Oct. 4, 2014, 12:32 pm
jay from nyc says:
Duck squad and anyone else, here is a link to a site that has the actual document with the initial charges against Alton Nolan.
Oct. 4, 2014, 12:40 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
I also realize they should go after the Shromin for beating up gay black people.
Oct. 6, 2014, 8:14 am
Karl from Kluger says:
That new DA-- such a nice, albeit forced, smile.
Oct. 6, 2014, 9:52 am

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