Despite Arrest, No ‘Hate Crime’ Charges
Local officials showed mixed reactions after police announced the arrest of a suspect in an alleged anti-Semitic attack. While officials were pleased with the arrest, they were also concerned about the failure to charge the suspect with a hate crime.
The NYPD has charged 25-year-old Shawn Schraeder in the recent assault of Kings Bay Y Executive Director Leonard Petlakh outside Barclay’s Center following the Brooklyn Nets v. Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game two weeks ago. Schraeder was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, and is now back in Brooklyn awaiting arraignment.
“I applaud the NYPD for recognizing the seriousness of this attack and for making a quick arrest, despite the fact that the suspect was halfway across the country,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “This sends a clear message that our city will not tolerate violence against anyone and will devote the necessary time and resources to investigating all incidents of hatred.”
However, despite the arrest, the NYPD has not charged Schraeder with a hate crime because they no longer think bias was involved. Elected leaders were skeptical of the decision.
“Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.”
Cmybrowitz added that, according to multiple accounts of the incident, the suspect was part of a group of anti-Israel protestors whose intentions turned hateful and violent over the course of the evening. Council Member Treyger similarly believes that hate crimes charges are warranted based on remarks allegedly directed at the victim during the attack.
The arrest came after Council Member Treyger and Council Member David Greenfield met with NYPD Commissioner Bratton this week to discuss steps being taken in light of the rise in hate crimes in recent months. The Council Members requested that the NYPD devote additional resources to fully investigate all hate crimes across the five boroughs.
“We must have zero tolerance for anti-Semitic crimes anywhere but especially not in New York City,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield. “It’s shocking that we have not only seen an increase in anti-Semitism but that anti-Semitic crimes make up the largest portion of hate crimes in New York City.”
During the meeting Councilman Greenfield emphasized the fear that is fueled by the rise in anti-Semitic crimes in New York City. Last year, there were 192 recorded hate crimes, 64 of them were anti-Semitic hate crimes. The NYPD confirmed that this year there has been a 50% rise of anti-Semitic crimes between the months of July and September. The NYPD has recognized the importance of addressing this issue and has brought in the former Senior Advisor to the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to research this area and come up with a plan on fighting hate crimes more aggressively. To date, only 108 arrests have been made out of 313 hate crimes so far this year.
“I would also like to thank Mr. Petlakh for his unwavering leadership and devotion to our community and for his hard work over the years to bring people of all faiths together,” Treyger added. “My thoughts are with him and his family as they continue to recover from this shocking and brutal attack. Once again, we showed that we will rise above these kinds of incidents that serve to divide our borough and city and will always come together to denounce all forms of violence and hatred.”
— Brooklyn brief. (@Brooklynbrief) October 20, 2014