An appeals court just overturned the conviction of a man who was accused of taking part in the gang-beating of a gay, black man.
In 2013, Taj Patterson was walking in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he was attacked by a dozen men who were part of an Orthodox neighborhood watch group.
The men accused Patterson of vandalizing cars, even though they had not filed a police report and police found the claim of vandalism to be unfounded.
The men beat Patterson while saying, “Stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down.” He was left blind in one eye after the brutal attack.
Several months later, five men were indicted. Charges were dismissed against two of them, two of them pleaded guilty and got community service, but Mayer Herskovic’s case went to trial in 2017.
The prosecution’s case fell apart when several eyewitnesses recanted their testimony, but the judge convicted Herskovic because his blood was found on Patterson’s shoe, placing him at the crime.
But the appeals court threw out the DNA evidence, and the conviction.
“The OCME criminologist testifying at the trial admitted that in developing high-sensitivity testing, OCME ‘tweaked the protocols’ of DNA testing. Based on the high-sensitivity testing, OCME found that the mixture was indicative of a two-person mixture,” the appeals judges wrote.
The prosecution is not going to further appeal the decision.
Patterson filed a lawsuit against the NYPD and the city of New York for allegedly giving his attackers preferential treatment. It’s still working through the courts.
But no one will spend any time in prison for this horrific crime.