A Queens couple has been charged with hate crimes for allegedly attacking a group of Hasidic men in Brooklyn on Sunday night for not social distancing, yelling at them, “you Jews are getting us all sick.”
A police spokesperson said the incident happened around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Ross Street in Williamsburg. Suspects Paulo Pinho, 35, and Clelia Pinho, 46, apparently saw a group of Hasidic people gathered on the street and went to confront them about not social distancing. Cops say the suspects attacked three men, ripping their masks off their faces, punching them in their faces, and making anti-Semitic remarks. The couple were detained by the crowd until cops arrived.
It’s unclear what the Jackson Heights couple was doing in Williamsburg at that time, but the Post reports that they were driving in their car when they saw the people on the street, and called the cops before getting out to confront them.
Both suspects have been charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
🇺🇸 — WILLIAMSBURG: Two antisemites were arrested moments ago after they assaulted Jews while ripping off their masks on the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/cW5u0AYT3b
— Belaaz (@TheBelaaz) May 11, 2020
Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods have seen some of the highest rates of COVID-19 deaths, and there have been some incidents over the past month of large groups gathering in public for funerals and other events, with some tacitly approved or coordinated by the NYPD.
During his morning’s press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio brought up the “horrible incident” and said the city will not tolerate such behavior: “It’s something that expresses hate, but also creates danger, and that’s unacceptable and we’re not gonna allow it in this city,” he said. “We are treating this incident as a hate crime, so there are serious consequences when someone commits one of these acts. Whether it is this horrible anti-Semitic act that we saw, or the horrible anti-Asian acts we saw in previous weeks, none of these acts of bias and discrimination are acceptable in New York City.”