Three Brooklyn men have been arrested and charged with hate crimes for allegedly attacking Jewish people outside Brooklyn synagogues.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Bensonhurst resident Daniel Shaukat, 20, and Haider Anjam, 21 and Ashan Azad, 19, both of Midwood, were charged in the 30-count indictment on Tuesday.
He said the charges stemmed from two separate incidents where the young men allegedly stated "Kill all the Jews," and demanded that a Jewish man say, "Free Palestine," and punched him when he refused, and then chased him and a friend while holding a cricket bat.
According to the investigation, on May 22, 2021 the three men stopped their car outside a synagogue on 16th Avenue in Borough Park and yelled, "Free Palestine, kill all the Jews" and spat at the direction of one victim.
Anjam and Shaukat got out of the car and approached two other men who were dressed in traditional clothing, according to the investigation. They allegedly repeated the same statements then banged on the synagogue door after children and adults ran inside. Anjam also allegedly kicked the side mirror of a parked vehicle.
About 15 minutes later, two other Jewish men were walking home on Ocean Parkway in Kensington after Shabbat services when the same car stopped at the intersection.
Anjam and Shaukat allegedly exited, approached the two victims and demanded repeatedly that they say, "Free Palestine", according to the investigation. They then allegedly punched one of the victims multiple times and put him in a chokehold. Azad allegedly got out of the driver's seat of the car and also punched one of the victims in the head.
The victims ran away and Anjam allegedly retrieved a wooden cricket bat from the trunk of the Toyota and chased them. A Lyft driver who observed the altercation offered to help the victims and drove them several blocks to safety.
"All members of Brooklyn's diverse communities should feel free to go about their day and observe their religion without fear of being targeted," Gonzalez said.
"Attacks such as those described in this indictment — including violence and threats of violence that stem from bias and bigotry — are abhorrent and will be prosecuted."
The charges the three men face include third-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, criminal mischief, criminal obstruction of briefing and related charges.
Anjam was arraigned last week, Shaukat was arraigned today and Azad will be arraigned on a later date. They were released on bonds ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 and ordered to return to court on September 9, 2021. The defendants face a maximum sentence of sixteen months to four years in prison if convicted of the top count.
Just last week, two people beat and robbed a Jewish man on his way to a synagogue in Brooklyn, sparking a new hate crime investigation, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
The 41-year-old man told police two men approached him from behind and punched him in the face as he was walking down New York Avenue around 5:45am.