NYC Virus Lockdown Protest Leader Ordered to Stay Away From Reporter

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What to Know

  • Harold "Heshy" Tischler, an activist in the city's Borough Park neighborhood, was charged with inciting people to riot and unlawful imprisonment of a journalist during a COVID rules protest
  • Large protests erupted last week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled new restrictions on schools, businesses and houses of worship in areas where coronavirus infection rates have increased
  • Cuomo said that the so-called cluster areas contain 2.8% of the state’s population, yet have accounted for a far higher share of cases

A leader of protests against new coronavirus restrictions in Brooklyn was ordered to stay away from a journalist who was chased and trapped by a crowd.

Judge Edwin Novillo told Heshy Tischler, who is charged with inciting people to riot and unlawful imprisonment of a journalist, that he would be subject to getting arrested again if he had any contact — or had someone else get into contact on his behalf, including through social media — with Jewish Insider journalist Jacob Kornbluh.

Tischler, a City Council candidate and activist in Borough Park, had been taken into custody late Sunday over the chaos that erupted during the Oct. 7 protest.

Video shows a crowd of men, egged on by Tischler, surrounding, jostling and taunting Kornbluh, who has been reporting on resistance to social distancing in the neighborhood. Tischler, who was not wearing a mask, can be seen screaming in Kornbluh’s face. Kornbluh, who is also an Orthodox Jew, said he was struck and kicked during the incident.

Tischler called his arrest a “political stunt” on Twitter. He has said he believed his interactions with Kornbluh were protected by the First Amendment.

On Monday, during the video hearing, Tischler’s attorney Abraham Hoschander protested against the judge implementing the order of protection against his client, saying he “poses no danger whatsoever.”

Tischler was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on April 27.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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