A 29-year-old Jewish teacher from the Ohr Menachem-Boys School in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn said he was targeted for his religion when he was slapped in the back of his head and threatened by two unknown men on Sunday.
The incident took place at Lincoln Terrace Park where the teacher, who asked that his name not be published for safety concerns, brought his class for a lesson. As he was talking with the children, he was suddenly approached from behind by a man who slapped him on the head. The teacher said he turned around, and the man started running away. As he took out his mobile phone to take a photo of his attacker, a second man came from behind and started throwing water balloons at him. The second man then took off with the first man, the teacher told JP. None of the children were hurt.
“I had no clue what’s coming next. It was a strong hit, but first I knew I have to get the kids back to school. I started going back to the school with all 13 children,” the teacher said. “As I started to walk away, the man who slapped me yelled, ‘I’m gonna get you.’ ”
When the teacher arrived back in school he called the police to file a report. NYPD confirmed that the incident took place and that the 77th Precinct detective squad is investigating the incident.
The teacher says he believes they targeted him because he is Jewish and wears traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing.
“They didn’t say anything but I don’t think they would do that to a non-Jewish person,” the teacher said.
The incident is not being handled by the Hate Crime Task Force Unit since the teacher didn’t indicate in his report he was attacked because of his religion, a police official told JP. It’s possible that when detectives re-interview the teacher they will hand over the investigation to the bias unit, the official said.
There have been several incidents of possible hate crime in Brooklyn the past few months. On Sunday night teenagers on bicycles assaulted a Hasidic man in Williamsburg. Earlier this month, several Jewish men were hit by orange paintballs in Borough Park. In May, a yeshiva student had his hat stolen by another teenager in Crown Heights.