A fashion student in New York filed a complaint to local police claiming he was brutally attacked by a gang of Orthodox Jews, the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday.
Taj Patterson, a New York City College of Technology student, was cursed at and physically abused while walking the streets of Williamsburg.
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The 22-year-old man was walking home when he was allegedly attacked by more than 10 Orthodox Jews.
“I’m walking down some block by myself and then the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a group of Hasidic Jewish men and they’re attacking me,” Patterson said to the Daily News. “I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons.”
Patterson, who was enjoying a night on the town with friends, was hospitalized with a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles.
The New York Police Department confirmed that the hate crimes unit is on the case, according to the Daily News.
The police report said Patterson was “highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent," after the attack. But the victim remembered the gang-leader: “There was a crowd around him, cheering him on and getting him rowdy, and he would grab me and push me against the wall.”
An MTA bus driver, Evelyn Keys, was on her bus route when she turned the corner onto the horrifying scene.
She told the Daily News: “I get out of the bus and all these men were standing up straight around him,” says Keys. “Taj is laying down on his back. I went up to him and he was in so much pain. He says, ‘I can’t see... I can’t breathe.’”
Peterson's mother, Zahara, is now concerned for her son's safety, "We've been living in this community for close to 30 years, so you’re telling me my son can’t walk there anymore?”
The incident took place in the wake of a troubling two-month period in Brooklyn, where at least 10 Orthodox Jews have been attacked by bullies in a violent game called "knockout." The target of the game is to knock out a person with only one punch.
It is currently unclear whether the incidents are related.
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