An alleged antisemitic attack in Brooklyn has sparked an investigation by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force after a Jewish man said he was beaten while wearing clothing with an Israeli logo on it.
Police were called around 10:45 a.m. on Sunday for an assault near the corner of Fifth Avenue and 86th Street in Bay Ridge. The 21-year-old victim, Blake Zavadsky, said that he and another man got into a verbal dispute while he was waiting for a store to open, and the man shouted Jewish slurs at him soon after.
Zavadsky said he was outside of the store with a friend when two men approached, and demanded he take his sweatshirt, which featured the Israeli Defense Force on the front of it.
"I didn't take it off. Because I'm proud of who I am. I’m not going to take a sweatshirt off of what I believe I'm proud of just because someone tells me to do something. And then afterwards, he called us my friend and I dirty Jews," Zavadsky told NBC New York.
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Police said that the suspect then punched Zavadsky several times before taking off. Zavadsky said the suspect threw coffee on him as well.
The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
The incident led to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul weighing in, calling it "abhorrent and unacceptable. Antisemitism & all hate has no home in New York."
"I will saw that any person, any kind of person, do not be scared of who you are. You should be proud of who you are and be able to represent any time," Zavadsky said. "I'm proud to be Jewish. I would definitely wear this sweatshirt, again and again."
The victim was treated at the scene for injuries to his face. The suspect fled the scene, and police are still looking for him. An investigation is ongoing.