In a letter to the Miami-Dade Police Department written on August 19, City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo urged authorities to “prioritize the investigation” of Rabbi Yosef Raksin, a Crown Heights resident who was shot and killed during in Miami on August 9.
“This tragedy has left New Yorkers devastated and in disbelief that such a senseless crime could be committed on the Sabbath,” Cumbo stated in the letter.
“Elected officials and interfaith leaders throughout New York City have joined together to send a message that we will not stand nor tolerate the targeting of individuals because of their religious beliefs or faith,” she continued. And “Individuals who engage in such acts must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Cumbo’s letter follows a press conference last week attended by Cumbo, other Brooklyn elected officials and religious leaders denouncing what they are calling a series of religiously motivated assaults on Brooklyn residents.
The hate crimes unit of the NYPD said it was still determining whether any of the Brooklyn attacks on the Jewish residents were in fact hate crimes. The Anti-Defamation League released a similar statement regarding Rabbi Raksin stating that whether Rabbi’s murder was a hate crime was inconclusive:
“At this time, it appears to be a robbery that went badly. Currently no evidence has been brought to light that it was motivated by anti-Semitism,” wrote an ADL representative. “While our community is on high alert due to recent anti-Semitic incidents that have coincided with hostilities in the Middle East, we must be careful not to assume this was a hate-motivated crime unless or until such information is discovered and released by law enforcement.”
In her letter, Cumbo pointed out that leaders in the Crown Heights community will continue to support the investigation until justice is served.
“Rabbi Raksin was a husband, father, grandfather, and a pillar of the Crown Heights Jewish community in Brooklyn,” wrote Cumbo.
“On behalf of the Crown Heights community, the Jewish Caucus, and the Raksin family, we urge you and the Miami-Dade Police Department to continue to prioritize this investigation and to utilize all available resources to resolve this case.
“We hope that you will look upon our offices and New York City as a partner in this effort.”