News (USA)

Brooklyn gay man sues 5 Hasidic men, Shomrim patrol over beating

NEW YORK — A gay man who was attacked and brutally beaten last December by a group of Hasidic men in Brooklyn filed a lawsuit Monday against the five men indicted in the attack and the Shomrim security patrol of which at least two of the assailants were members.

Taj Patterson, in a photo taken shortly after the attack.
Taj Patterson, in a photo taken shortly after the attack.

The New York Daily News reports the suit, filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court by 23-year-old Taj Patterson, seeks unspecified damages for injuries sustained in the attack, and and accuses the volunteer safety patrol of negligence.

Patterson, a fashion student at the New York City College of Technology, said he was attacked in the early morning hours of Dec. 1 by more than a dozen ultra-Orthodox men shouting anti-gay epithets.

Authorities say the suspects were part of the Shomrim Williamsburg Safety Patrol Unit, a local civilian watch group in the heavily Orthodox section of the neighborhood, and stopped Patterson while he was walking home.

The group claimed to be investigating neighbors’ reports that Patterson had damaged cars, but didn’t call police.

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Even after the reports of vandalism proved to be unfounded, the group, which grew to about 15 members, surrounded Patterson, held him down and punched and kicked him, according to prosecutors.

Patterson said he was told to “stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down” during the beating.

The attack left Patterson blind in his right eye.

Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25, were charged with gang assault and could face up to 25 years in prison.

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