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More Details Revealed About NYC Student’s Alleged Hate Crime Attack

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Dec 11, 2013
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Taj Patterson
Taj Patterson  (Source:New York Daily News)

Officials from the New York Police Department say the group of Hasidic men who allegedly attacked a fashion student from Brooklyn on Dec. 1 may have been members of a neighborhood watch, the New York Daily News reports.

NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the newspaper that the men who attacked Taj Patterson, a 22-year-old student at the New York City College of Technology, all wore similar jackets.

"A group with some sort of uniform jacket with a logo may have been involved," Kelly said, before adding that police have not concluded if the men were members of the Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group that looks over the area where Patterson was attacked.

Patterson said he was walking home from a party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, around 4 a.m. on Dec. 1 when more than a dozen Hasidic men beat him while yelling anti-gay slurs. The student says they yelled, "Stay down, faggot!" while punching and kicking him.

Patterson was rushed to the hospital and suffered a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee. He will have to undergo surgery to reattach his retina.

Though the student couldn’t remember much about the incident (a police report said he was "highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent"), there were some witnesses, including MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys.

"I get out of the bus and all these men were standing up straight around him," Keys said. "Taj is laying down on his back. I went up to him and he was in so much pain. He says, ’I can’t see . . . I can’t breathe.’ "

Mario Ortiz, 33, also witnessed the attack and said one of the men "tried to hit me." Another witness, who remains anonymous, said the attackers were "wearing emblems."

"One was wearing a shield on his shirt. It was definitely a police force," the witness added.

NYPD have yet to make an arrest, and it was reported on Tuesday that the department’s hate crime unit was investigating the attack.

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