Police have arrested and charged five ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews over the December beating of a gay black fashion student they caught walking in their neighborhood at 4.30am in the morning.
Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25, were charged with gang assault and other counts on Wednesday.
They were part of a group of close to 20 religious Jews that attacked 22-year-old Taj Patterson while he was returning home to Fort Green after a night out partying.
The men formed part of a local vigilante group that had been out looking for someone who had been vandalizing cars in the area and set upon Patterson when he crossed paths with them.
The main instigator is alleged to have kicked Patterson in the face and repeatedly called him anti-gay slurs while telling him not to try to get up.
Patterson suffered a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles during the attack.
The group only stopped when a passing bus driver stopped to confront them at which point they fled.
All five suspects were arraigned in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon and released on bails ranging from $50,000 and $25,000.
They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
These indictments send a clear message that acts of vigilantism are unacceptable and cannot be condoned by the NYPD,’ Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement to the New York Daily News.