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Hate crime spike in Crown Heights?

Veronika Belenkaya – NY Daily News

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — Tensions are high in Crown Heights, where Jewish community leaders and local NYPD brass are clashing over charges there’s been a spike in bias beatings of Jews.

“The Police Department has been characterizing racial instances in our community, downgrading them to robberies, rather than addressing the true origin of the crime,” charged Jewish Leadership Council President Barry Sugar.

But Police Department sources said that a faction within the Crown Heights Jewish community seeks to oust the 71st Precinct’s commanding officer, Inspector Frank Vega.

In the most recent area incident, 16-year-old Samuel Balkany was beaten by five black youths Jan. 18, police and Samuel say, as they shouted “Oh, little Jew boy, you think you own this neighborhood,” and “Who are you, f—ing Jew?”

“It’s hatred, it’s not a personal situation,” said Samuel, who is recovering from a head gash.

“It’s gotten more blatant and more vicious in the past year and there hasn’t been a response,” the teen added.

While Samuel said the NYPD is investigating his beating as a hate crime, one Jewish man told the Daily News he was the victim of a hate-crime beating in July that was ignored by the cops.

“I was on my way home and a man approached me and he started yelling, ”F—ing Jew. Dirty Jew. I’m gonna finish what Hitler started,“ said Moshe Kozlovsky, 20, saying he was knocked unconscious but that nothing was stolen from him.

Kozlovsky said cops lost the police report and had to let the suspect go free after arresting him. Police officials did not respond to Kozlovsky’s allegations, but an NYPD spokesman said possible hate crimes were always thoroughly investigated.

”The department aggressively pursues all hate crime allegations, and those painstaking efforts have resulted in more arrests than any other jurisdiction,“ said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. ”The NYPD takes all hate crime seriously, and our record shows it.“

Sugar, however, said he had made ”repeated requests to take our concerns seriously and those concerns have fallen on deaf ears.“ He said Vega filibustered a community council meeting last month, which resulted in a walkout of more than 200 Jews after about an hour.

”It was very obvious his intent was not to allow anybody in the Jewish community to voice their frustrations,“ he said. ”He usually only talks for about 10 minutes – not an hour.“

But precinct Community Council President Carl Cohen, who was also present, said Sugar misunderstood the proceedings.

”I don’t think it was deliberately done,“ said Cohen, who referred to himself as impartial.

”I am a black man with a Jewish name, and I am for the police, I am for the Jewish people and I am for the black people. … I call it like a see it.

“The inspector was giving a year-end speech, which takes longer. I think that [Sugar] probably reacted a little too soon,” Cohen said. “After he left, the inspector was taking questions, and he even asked if Mr. Sugar is still here.”

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Hate crime spike in Crown Heights?"

#1 Comment By BigBen On January 28, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

Let’s keep the pressure on them. They are making a nice show with cops on Kingston Ave this week. Let’s see what happens a week later and when the weather goes over 50 degrees.

#2 Comment By boruch hoffinger On January 28, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

The commander admitted that he should have told the crowd that it was a year-end speech.
Miss communication?
I was there. I became very upset and thought that the inspector was filibustering. It would be a VERY stupid thing to do.
I really felt it because I used to work for the police department. I was a PAA (Police Administrative Aide).
Community Council President Carl Cohen is a very decent man. I’m friendly with him.

#3 Comment By Dont just sit there, DO something! On January 28, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

I was browsing thru another website that is frum, and saw this person’s comment, I decided to cut and paste it, as I think its a great idea, for people in Crown Heights, and once internal affairs finds out what is going on, and people start getting demoted,,, Vega will clean up his act or get demoted by them,,,
Good luck, here goes!
I know cases of “missing ”police reports in my area pct’s.

I have had one particular person file 6 reports because on 5 different occassions for the same report -the file kept on disappearing. After the third time we called internal affairs and they set up a sting operation where an undercover officer posed as a “helper” and came with us to see with his own eyes of what is going on in the pct.

Three people were demoted and will never get anywhere in the police force because internal affairs do their investigations seriously.

Everything takes time but I urge every single person living in crown heights to call 311 and ask to be transfered to internal affairs. We guarantee you that pressure works. Sharpton never lets go so why should we take this lightly?

Concerned citizen