The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating an Orthodox Jewish man’s claim that he was pelted with ice while driving through Brooklyn. The 34-year-old victim told police that he was sitting in traffic on Brooklyn Ave. near St. Marks Ave. in Crown Heights about 5 p.m. Thursday when someone chucked a hunk of ice at him through his open window, cops said.
The ice hit the man in the face and injured his eye. A group of young men was seen running from the area just after the assault, police said. Police on Friday released surveillance photos of the men; no arrests have been made.
Hate crime investigators are trying to determine whether the victim, who was wearing traditional Hasidic clothing, was being targeted because of his religion.
Thursday’s incident comes two days after another Orthodox Jewish man was bashed with a rock while walking through a Crown Heights park, knocking out his teeth.
Rabbi Avraham Gopin, 63, told police that his attacker — a complete stranger — said nothing as he punched Gopin in the face, then struck him in the mouth with the rock during the Tuesday morning assault in Lincoln Terrace Park. Gopin was taken to Maimonides Medical Center with injuries to his head and mouth.
A man with a white T-shirt, black shorts and no shoes ran from the scene and is still on the loose, police said.
Deputy Inspector John Buttacavoli, the commanding officer of the 77th Precinct in Crown Heights, pumped up patrols around neighborhood syngogues Friday afternoon as the Jewish Sabbath approached. “I share in your concern over recent biased incidents that have been reported in our community,” Buttacavoli wrote on Twitter. “We have increased patrols and manpower to ensure that every resident is safe.”
Police have seen a whopping 64% jump in anti-Semitic crimes across the five boroughs. As of Aug. 25, cops were investigating 145 anti-Semitic crimes, most of which took place in Brooklyn. This time last year, only 88 anti-Semitic crimes had been reported, police said.