The NYPD is asking the public’s help in its search for a man accused of hitting a Brooklyn rabbi with a large rock in a suspected hate crime attack.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the assault, which took place around 8 a.m. Tuesday in Crown Heights. Investigators released footage of the suspect on social media in the hope someone will come forward with information. Police are also upping patrols in the area.
WANTED for an Assault inside 398 Buffalo Ave (Lincoln Terrace Park) #weeksville #brooklyn @NYPD77Pct On 08/27/19 @ 7:40 AM Reward up to $2500 Seen him? Know who he is?☎️Call 1-800-577-TIPS or DM us! Calls are CONFIDENTIAL! #yourcityyourcall pic.twitter.com/J4hJ2D2ekk
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) August 28, 2019
Officials said 63-year-old Rabbi Abraham Gopin was working out in Lincoln Terrance park, also known as Rochester park, when a man threw a rock in his direction. Rabbi Gopin attempted to defend himself, punching back at the assailant. The suspect then picked up a larger rock, and threw it at the rabbi, hitting him in the face and drawing blood. Rabbi Gopin was taken to Maimonides Hospital for treatment. His two front teeth were reportedly knocked out, and he had a cut on his face.
Additionally, ABC spoke with his son, who said that his nose was fractured in two places and he got staples in his head as a result of the incident.
The rabbi said he feared for his life and felt targeted because other people were working out in the area, yet the suspect attacked only him. Furthermore, Rabbi Gopin was wearing a yarmulke at the time, and said he thought he heard the suspect yell a racial slur.
The victim’s son-in-law, Benny Friedman, is a well-known Chassidic vocalist and tweeted out a thread all about the incident.
“This morning, as my father in law was walking in Rochester Park in Crown Heights, he was attacked with a deadly weapon. This is absolutely frightening, and obviously something that a civilization should never tolerate. May Hashem protect us, and we should only share good news,” Friedman said on Twitter.
This morning, as my father in law was walking in Rochester Park in Crown Heights, he was attacked with a deadly weapon. This is absolutely frightening, and obviously something that a civilization should never tolerate. May Hashem protect us, and we should only share good news. https://t.co/ZEYjk92Fms
— Benny Friedman (@BennysMusic) August 27, 2019
Mayor de Blasio reposted Friedman’s thread and shared, “The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating this despicable act of violence, and we will find the attacker. This city will stop at nothing to protect our communities from hate and violence.@BennysMusic, I wish your father-in-law a speedy recovery.”
Councilman Chaim Deutsch also voiced his concerns about the incident on social media shared that, “A 64 year old Jewish man was violently assaulted in Rochester Park in Crown Heights. THIS is the weapon that was used against him. Has it become too dangerous for openly religious Jewish men to walk the streets of NYC? @NYPDHateCrimes is currently investigating this attack.”
From the video footage, the attacker can be seen wearing a white shirt and black shorts.
Officials are describing him as a black male, who is approximately 6 feet tall, with long black dreadlocks.
If you or someone you know has any information about the suspect, call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). If calling isn’t an option, you can text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. You can also submit tips on Twitter and the website. Everything is confidential.