A gay black man who was brutally beaten by a Hasidic patrol group in 2013 is now pointing a finger at the close relationship between the New York City Police Department, city officials and the Jewish safety patrols, the New York Daily News reports.
Taj Patterson lost sight in one eye after he was beaten up in Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Williamsburg neighborhood by over a dozen ultra-Orthodox men who were also shouting anti-gay slurs. As the Daily News reports, in the wake of the investigation, cops with the NYPD's 90th Precinct prematurely closed the case, even though four individuals had witnessed the incident, causing a 48-hour delay in the probe.
Patterson has now filed a lawsuit, charging that the city and the NYPD "created an atmosphere where the security patrols not only got official recognition and money, but could act with impunity," the Daily News reports.
The lawsuit alleges that members of the Orthodox Jewish security patrol group Shomrim called the 90th Precinct to influence the investigation of the case. The lawsuit also claims that if cops had acted more quickly, more suspects would have been identified. However, things being as they were, evidence rapidly vanished.
According to the Daily News, the lawsuit makes a connection between Patterson's assault and an ongoing corruption scandal involving officers putting in favors for Jewish businessmen in exchange for gifts.
“The city’s policies have essentially created a private police force with special connections to the NYPD, funded and outfitted by the city, without any supervision of that force,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit also alleges that the city is responsible for Patterson's injuries because it was behind the Police Department's policies, which ultimately culminated in Patterson's assault.
“The city’s deliberate indifference caused Plaintiff’s injuries,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit names as defendants the city, an officer and two sergeants from the 90th Precinct, the Williamsburg Safety Patrol, a related organization known as the Shmira Volunteer Patrol Corp., and the five men who were arrested in Patterson's attack.
“The corrupt relationship between the NYPD and the Shomrim has never been a secret—and Taj's beatdown by a gang of thugs in black coats and rent-a-cop jackets was the inevitable result of the 90th Precinct's two-class system," said Andrew Stoll of Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, which represents Patterson, according to the Daily News.
The lawsuit also details how the city has given Shomrim patrols over $1 million throughout the years for bulletproof vests, police radios and two "command vehicles," valued at about $300,000 each. The Shomrim cars are reportedly often "virtually indistinguishable" from NYPD vehicles.
“Shomrim members have readily been allowed access to areas of NYPD precincts not ordinarily open to the public,” the lawsuit reads. “The safety patrol virtually replaces the official police in parts of Williamsburg.”
According to the Daily News, the NYPD did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.
Abraham Winkler and Pinchas Braver, two of the five men arrested in Patterson's assault, pleaded guilty in May to unlawful imprisonment and are scheduled to be sentenced in August, the Daily News notes. The case against another suspect, Mayer Herskovic, remains open. Charges were dropped against the last two men, Aharon Hollender and Joseph Fried.
Read more at the New York Daily News.