A Nassau County resident was the victim of an alleged assault in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday night, which is being investigated by the New York City police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, according to a spokesperson for NYPD’S deputy commissioner of public relations.
The 29-year-old Long Islander was beaten to the ground and assaulted by about five or six men who hurled anti-Semitic remarks at him, officers said. As a result, 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh, of Brooklyn, was arrested and charged with hate crime assault, gang assault, menacing, aggravated harassment/hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon.
“Police responded to a 911 call of an assault in progress in the vicinity of 1604 Broadway, confines of the Midtown North Precinct,” the NYPD DCPI spokesperson said in a statement. “Upon arrival, they encountered a 29-year-old male who was the victim of an assault by a group of males. The individuals punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed, and hit the victim with crutches during the assault.”
Emergency Medical Services also responded to the scene and transported the Long Island man to NYC Health and Hospitals/Bellevue in stable condition.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigation is ongoing.
The incident comes as pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters have been clashing in New York City, leading to several arrests in Times Square recently.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran released a statement after news of the alleged anti-Semitic assault broke on Friday.
“I’m appalled by the anti-Semitic gang attacks in NYC that victimized a Nassau resident, as well as the rising number of attacks targeting Jews in major cities like Los Angeles and London,” she said. “We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and against vile Anti-Semitism.”
Curran added that she has asked the Nassau County Police Department to maintain communication with local synagogues and yeshivas, “as well as other houses of worship, to ensure all of our residents are protected.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned anti-Semitic attacks that have broken out recently.
“New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world,” he said in a statement. “This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence.”
Cuomo called for justice and said he will direct the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in investigations of the attacks.