Indian-origin Brooklyn resident punches Jewish man on street.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: An Indian-origin resident of Brooklyn, New York has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for his involvement in an attack of a Jewish man.
Twenty-eight year-old Amrit Marajh allegedly struck 24 year-old Shmuel Perl as he was walking by Marajh and three of his friends on the street. Marajh is said to have called out an anti-Semitic slur before hitting the man, who was identified as Jewish because he was wearing a yarmulke.
The attack was apparently one of a growing number of “knock-out attacks,” a recent fad that has taken the internet by storm and has urban residents and law enforcement officers across the country highly concerned.
The concept of a “knock-out attack” is for someone to walk up to an unsuspecting passer-by on the street and punch them so hard that they get knocked out. The act is typically caught on video by an accomplice, who then puts the video on YouTube for others to see.
Perl told police he was walking home early on Friday morning, in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, when Marajh and his friends came upon him. He also said that they were talking about boxing and punching people out in the moments leading up to the assault. Marajh allegedly told his friends that he was willing to try his hand at the knock-out game, and punched the victim on the side of the head.
Marajh was released from police custody on $750 bail after his arraignment on misdemeanor harassment and assault charged. According to the New York Daily News, Marajh proclaimed his innocence after his release, and said that he shouldn’t be tried for a hate crime because he has a Jewish girlfriend and several Jewish friends, indicating that he doesn’t hate followers of the religion.
Such attacks have been reported in six states across the US, including the District of Columbia, with at least three deaths being attributed to them. There have been several outcries by lawmakers to prosecute “knock-out attacks” more forcefully than assaults, saying that the religious aspect of it – a large number of victims nationwide have been Jewish – requires that a stricter penalty be enforced. Others have also pointed out that many of the attackers have been African-American youths, further bolstering the claim that race and ethnicity is a factor in the attacks.
New York State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-NY) has called for perpetrators to be tried as adults and receive prison terms as stiff as 25 years in prison. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that police are taking the incidents – which are sometimes called “polar bear” attacks as well because the victims are almost always Caucasian – very serious, but they are proceeding carefully with their investigation so that the additional publicity does not in turn cause more copycat attacks.
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