A member of a Hasidic neighborhood watch group who viciously beat a gay black man in Brooklyn in 2013 will spend four years behind bars for the attack.
Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun handed the sentence to Mayer Herskovic, 24, for his role in the beatdown in which as many as 20 people set upon Taj Patterson as he walked through Williamsburg late on Dec. 1, 2013. The attack left him blind in one eye.
Police arrested five men in the case, but prosecutors dropped charges against two, and two others took plea deals.
Herskovic was the only to go to trial, a non-jury case where Chun found him guilty of gang assault last year.
He faced up to 15 years, but Chun went lighter on him, because prosecutors could not prove he was the ringleader, the judge said.
“I did not find [intent] in this particular defendant, but he was involved he participated,” Chun said. “This defendant was not the most culpable.”
As many as 20 ultra-orthodox Jews, some members of the Shomrim neighborhood watch group, surrounded Patterson, who is openly gay, while walked through Williamsburg at 5 a.m. on Dec. 1, 2013.
Three men pinned Patterson up against a fence and pummeled him, and when he tried to fight back, one gouged him in the eye, leaving him permanently blind, he told Chun in August.
Herskovic was led out of court in handcuffs on Thursday, but an appellate judge later issued a stay of sentencing that keeps Herskovic out of jail for up to 120 days while his attorney Stuart Slotnick files an appeal of the sentence. Slotnick called DNA evidence against his client “completely and totally flawed.”
Herskovic’s father, Michael Herskovic called maintained his son’s innocence and said “the justice system failed him.” But prosecutors said the only victim is Patterson, who was not in court on Thursday.
“No amount of time would bring back his sense of peace or the vision in his right eye … Patterson is deeply scarred,” ADA Tim Gough told Chun ahead of the sentencing.