A Brooklyn judge has tossed a gay student’s lawsuit against the city and the men found guilty of a brutal, Williamsburg Shomrim beat-down that left him blind but ruled the fashion pupil can still sue the Orthodox Jewish community watch group behind the attack.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis conceded that, while Taj Patterson’s allegations are “troubling,” there wasn’t enough evidence to show that the NYPD and the city had blindly endorsed and funded Williamsburg Shomrim or turned a blind eye after Patterson’s attack as the 2016 suit alleged.
The judge also threw out the claims against Mayer Herskovic, who was convicted last fall on charges of gang assault and sentenced to 4 years behind bars.
Other assailants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to community service.
Herskovic and some 20 Shomrim members surrounded Patterson as he walked home from a friend’s birthday in Williamsburg on Dec.1, 2013, according to trial testimony.
During the attack, Patterson testified one assailant stuck his thumb in Patterson’s eye, leaving him blind.
In the federal civil suit, Patterson alleged that police treated him — a self-described “gay, black, gentile man”— less favorable than his heterosexual, white Jewish attackers.
In his ruling, Garaufis said he couldn’t find any traces of discrimination against Patterson, and that while the lawsuit cited “generalized accounts,” there was nothing actually linked to his case.
The suit can continue against two watch-groups, Williamsburg Safety Patrol, Inc., and the Shmira Volunteer Patrol Corp, Garufis ordered, noting that neither had appeared in court or even acknowledged the legal action against them.
Patterson’s Brooklyn Supreme case against all Shomrim-linked defendants is still pending.