Prosecutor Protecting Man In Apparent Racially-Motivated Attack, Lawyer Says
Style Magazine Newswire | 3/17/2017, 3:45 p.m.
A Brooklyn, New York man demands full justice, more than three years after a brutal attack that left him blind in one eye.
Taj Patterson’s lawyer accuses the prosecutor of failing to indict one of the attackers because his family has political ties, the New York Daily News reports.
In December 2013, at least a dozen Hasidic Jewish men attacked Patterson, who’s a gay African-American man, while he was walking through their neighborhood at about 4:30 a.m. Prosecutors charged five men for the assault. Charges against two of them, however, were dismissed because witnesses later said they misidentified them. Two others pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful imprisonment. The fifth man, Mayer Herskovic, was found guilty in September 2016 and faces up to 15 years for his involvement in the beating.
Patterson’s lawyer, Andrew Stoll, told the Daily News that the Brooklyn district attorney’s office has failed to indict Yoelli “Joel” Itzkowitz, another man involved in the attack, because Itzkowitz’s brother is politically-connected.
“One token felony conviction does not placate Taj and his family, when one of the primary assailants remains protected for corrupt, political, and frankly, racial reasons,” Stoll told the newspaper.
The Daily News said a witness and a police detective testified at Herskovic’s trial that Itzkowitz was one of the attackers. The detective’s testimony was based on surveillance video.
Despite that evidence, the prosecutor has not questioned Itzkowitz, who the newspaper identified as a member of the Shomrim, a Hasidic neighborhood watch group that serves Orthodox Jewish communities across the city.
Stoll told the news outlet that he has written twice to the district attorney, but there has been no response.
“We can only conclude that this DA’s office remains unwilling to grant equal access to justice to all Brooklyn communities,” he stated.
The newspaper said the prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the case.
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