A 63-year-old Jewish man was attacked in a Brooklyn park Tuesday morning, prompting a reward for information about his attacker.
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The man, whose name was not released by police, was attacked at 7:40 a.m. when he was running in Lincoln Terrace Park.
The man was wearing a yarmulke when a black man with dreadlocks allegedly punched him, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department told ABC News.
“My father-in-law has a big beard. My father-in-law is very easily identifiable as a Hasidic Jew. My father-in-law speaks English with a very heavy Israeli accent,” said the victim’s son-in-law, Benny Friedman.
The pair started fighting and the assailant allegedly grabbed a rock and hit the victim in the mouth and forehead, the NYPD spokesman said.
Friedman said that his father-in-law “said the guy was trying to kill him.”
“He said he defended himself. He fought him off. He doesn’t remember much of it — he was on the floor but he doesn’t remember how he got on the floor,” Friedman told ABC News.
The victim had his two teeth knocked out as a result and suffered a laceration to the forehead but was in stable condition when he was transported to nearby Maimonides Medical Center, the NYPD spokesman said. Friedman also said that his father-in-law’s nose was broken in two places and his leg was also injured.
His father-in-law has been discharged from the hospital and had the laceration on his forehead stapled, Friedman told ABC News.
The perpetrator fled the scene, but the NYPD spokesperson described the suspect as being about 6 feet tall. The attack is being investigated as a possible bias incident, the NYPD confirmed.
“My father-in-law says that the guy yelled at him something like ‘dirty Jew,’” Friedman said.
According to NYPD records, there have been 145 anti-Semitic hate crime complaints between Jan. 1 and Aug. 25 of this year in all of New York City. By comparison, there were 88 such complaints during same time period in 2018.
“It’s absolutely frightening,” Friedman said. “The truth is that unfortunately this is not the first event of its kind. It happens all too often and I try to just look the other way and try to live life. We try to continue living as normal as possible without thinking too much about this but then when it hits home so close, it’s extremely frightening. As you can imagine my wife is traumatized.”
He said there’s “no reason anyone should have to live like this.”
The New York Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League announced that they are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible.
“The sheer brutally of this attack is beyond shocking and profoundly upsetting,” Evan Bernstein, the ADL New York-New Jersey regional director, said in a statement.