WILLIAMSBURG — Detectives are investigating the assault of a Hasidic man as a possible hate crime and what could be the latest in a series of attacks in Brooklyn that police say could be part of the violent street game "knockout," NYPD and local officials said.
The beating of a 26-year-old — who police said was approached and struck in the forehead by a woman Sunday evening at Bedford Avenue and Taylor Street — rattled local politicians and Hasidic leaders, who worried the incident was the latest in a string of "knockout" assaults being investigated.
The goal of the violent street game is to sucker punch a random person on the street so they are knocked unconscious.
Police would not comment on whether the attack, which occurred at 10:50 p.m. Sunday, appeared connected to the other "knockout" incidents, but said the crime was being examined by the hate crime task force. The female attacker was with another man when she hit the victim, police added, but the victim was no taken to hospital as a result.
Police had not yet identified a suspect as of Monday afternoon.
Members of Councilman Stephen Levin's office confirmed that the attack had been perpetrated on a young Hasidic man and called on increased police coverage in the area to combat the trend.
“I am thoroughly disgusted by this hateful attack,” said Levin. “To the perpetrators of these disturbing and hateful acts: We will find you and you will go to jail."
Hasidic leader Rabbi David Niederman also decried the attack, which follows recent assaults on Jewish residents elsewhere in the city.
“We will not tolerate these hateful acts to occur in our community," Niederman said. "This is a peace-loving community and one that will stand together to make sure the perpetrators of this act are apprehended and brought to justice."