Times Square

First Suspect Is Arrested in Antisemitic Gang Attack on Jewish Man in Times Square

The NYPD released photos Saturday of the additional suspects wanted in connection with the attack

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A suspect wanted for a gang-style assault of a Jewish man in New York City last week has been arrested, according to police.

Police say 25-year-old Faisal Elezzi of Staten Island was one of at least five men who participated in the antisemitic attack that took place in Times Square last Thursday amid demonstrations that brought out both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian supporters to midtown Manhattan. A graphic video shows a group of people beating on 29-year-old Joseph Borgen in the middle of the street.

Elezzi was charged with Assault as a Hate Crime, Menacing as a Hate Crime and Aggravated Harassment as a Hate Crime, according to the NYPD.

Borgen says he suffered the brutal beating at the hand of an angry mob allegedly yelling antisemitic slurs.

Friday's demonstrations remained largely peaceful, as a pro-Palestinian group protested outside the Museum of Modern Art. That came a day after a Jewish man was beaten by an angry mob, and another woman was burned by a firework. NBC New York's Ray Villeda reports.

"They proceeded to assault me, beat me, kick me, punch me hit me with crutches, hit me with flag poles," Borgen told NBC New York. He said he hadn't even gotten to the protest, but rather said he exited a nearby subway station and was targeted, getting pepper-sprayed amid the attack.

Police on Friday afternoon announced that Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested for using a crutch to assault another man in that area. He was charged with hate crime assault and other charges. It could not immediately be determined if either Awawdah or Elezzi had legal representatives who can spreak on their behalf.

The NYPD released photos Saturday of the additional suspects wanted in connection with the attack. Elezzi is the second man pictured from the left, police said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bias attack "disgusting and unacceptable," indicating on his weekly WNYC radio appearance that additional arrests would be made. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday condemned the attack and said the state police Hate Crimes Task Force would offer assistance.

“New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence,” Cuomo said in a prepared release.

In addition to two dozen arrests, police say the Hate Crime Task Force has launched an investigation into an assault of a Jewish man in Times Square amid pro-Israel and pro-Palestine clashes. NBC New York's Tracie Strahan reports.
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