Taj Patterson, a student at New York City College of Technology, claims he was attacked by an angry mob of Hasidic Jews who hurled homophobic slurs in his direction. The incident has caught the attention of the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force, which is currently investigating it as a hate crime.
Patterson, 22, told the New York Daily News that he was walking home through Fort Greene on Dec. 1 when at least 20 men assaulted him. He said he remembers the others cheering the primary instigator on. "He told me to 'Stay down, f*****, stay the f*** down," Patterson said to the Daily News, adding that it was the last thing he remembered.
MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys said she pulled over to stop the beating. "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.'" He was rushed to Woodhull Hospital where he was treated for a broken eye socket, blood clotting, a torn retina and various cuts and bruises to his ankles and knees.
Gothamist says that Assemblymen Dov Hikind, who has spoken out against the "knockout game" attacks, acknowledged that something had obviously happened to Patterson (really?), but asserted that the attack sounded extremely "out of character" for the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
According to a police report, Patterson was highly intoxicated and unable to make a statement immediately following the alleged attack. He will need surgery to reattach his retina.