Taj Patterson,Gay, Black Man Who Attacked By Williamsburg Shomrim Patrol Gang Sues NYC

The far-too-cozy relationship between the NYPD, city officials, and Jewish safety patrols in Brooklyn led to the beating of a gay, black man in Williamsburg, an explosive new lawsuit to be filed in federal court Monday alleges.

Taj Patterson of Fort Greene, was walking down Flushing Ave. in Williamsburg in December 2013 when he was set upon by a gang of men linked to the Shomrim, a volunteer Orthodox Jewish security patrol.

He was left battered, and lost eyesight in one eye.

In aftermath, as the TOT first reported, cops with the 90th Precinct prematurely closed the case despite having four witnesses to the assault delaying the investigation for 48 crucial hours.

In the lawsuit, obtained by the TOT, lawyers for Patterson claim that the city and the NYPD created an atmosphere where the security patrols not only got official recognition and money, but could act with impunity.

Shomrim members made calls to the 90th Precinct in an effort to influence the Patterson investigation, the lawsuit claims.

Had the cops acted more quickly, it’s possible that more suspects could have been identified, the lawsuit alleges.

Instead, evidence quickly disappeared.

Some witnesses recanted their testimony, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit draws a direct line from the Patterson assault through the ongoing corruption scandal involving police officials doing favors for Jewish businessmen in exchange for gifts to this relationship between the NYPD and the security patrols.

“The City’s policies have essentially created a private police force with special connections to the NYPD, funded and outfitted by the City, without any supervision of that force,” the lawsuit alleges.

The city is liable for Patterson’s injuries, the lawsuit argues, because it has created policies under which unconstitutional practices regularly take place, and that culminated in Patterson’s beating.

“The City’s deliberate indifference caused Plaintiff’s injuries,” the lawsuit alleges.

Along with the city, a cop and two sergeants from the 90th Precinct are named as defendants along with the Williamsburg Safety Patrol and a related organization known as the Shmira Volunteer Patrol Corp., and the five men arrested for the Patterson attack.

One of the sergeants named in the lawsuit, Ivan Furda, was docked 10 vacation days by the NYPD for prematurely closing the case.

Even though witnesses described the attackers as orthodox jews in appearance, including their hair, Furda is quoted in the lawsuit, claiming that he didn’t know Patterson’s assailants were Jewish.

Also named in the lawsuit is Yoeli Itzkowitz, who Patterson’s lawyers allege was part of the assault and is the brother of Shomrim coordinator Yanky Itzkowitz.

“The corrupt relationship between the NYPD and the Shomrim has never been a secret and Taj’s beat-down by a gang of thugs in black coats and rent a cop jackets was the inevitable result of the 90th Precinct’s two-class system,” said Andrew Stoll, of Stoll Glickman Bellina, which is representing Patterson.

To illustrate the too close relationship, the complaint mentions four elected officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who made laudatory public statements about the Shomrim.

None of them are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The complaint goes on to point out that the city has given Shomrim patrols over $1 million through the years for bulletproof vests, police radios, and even two “command vehicles” worth about $300,000 each.

Shomrim cars, equipped with lists and sirens, are often “virtually indistinguishable” from NYPD vehicles.

“Shomrim members have readily been allowed access to areas of NYPD precincts not ordinarily open to the public,” the lawsuit alleges. “The safety patrol virtually replaces the official police in parts of Williamsburg.”

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

“The complaint will be reviewed,” said Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city Law Department.

In a statement, a spokesman for Borough President Adams said, “Civilian patrols play an important role in advancing the public safety of our communities, a role that be must performed lawfully through an active observance of the same rules and guidelines that govern every member of our city.

“Any individual that fails to observe those fundamental laws needs to be held accountable.”

A call to the Williamsburg Safety Patrol was not immediately returned.

Abraham Winkler, Aharon Hollender, Mayer Herskovic, Joseph Fried and Pinchas Braver were all arrested on assault charges in connection with the Patterson beating.

Charges were dropped against Hollender and Fried. Winkler and Braver pleaded guilty in May to unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor, and will be sentenced in August.

Herskovic’s criminal case remains open.

“Aharon Hollender committed absolutely no misconduct in this case whatsoever,” said attorney Michael Farkas, who represented him while his criminal case was pending.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    A gay black man who was brutally beaten in 2013 by a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men blames the attack on the ongoing NYPD corruption scandal, a new lawsuit filed Monday says.

    Taj Patterson accuses the city and police officials of being in bed with members of the Shomrim — saying the Satmar watchdog patrol group has for years been given “favorable and preferential treatment,” the Brooklyn federal court complaint says.

    Patterson, who is openly gay, was left permanently blind in the left eye from the beat-down in Williamsburg, allegedly by the group of Hasidic patrolmen.

    Five were ultimately arrested — but Patterson says in his suit that the investigation was bungled and prematurely closed after Shomrim members made calls to the 90th Precinct.

    The now 25-year-old says the city is responsible for his serious injuries because it’s allowed the close-knit relationship between the two groups to continue for years.

    “Taj Patterson’s brutal beating, and his lack of access to adequate justice, was the inevitable result of the city’s refusal to address these issues,” the suit says.

    One of the attackers, Pinchas Braver, received “special treatment and rewards from the NYPD,” including getting a tour of the 19th precinct — which was then run by ex-Deputy Inspector James Grant.

    Grant was recently arrested with other NYPD officials on charges they took bribes from Jewish businessmen.

    At the time of Patterson’s attack, the 90th Precinct was led by Commander Mark DiPaolo, who allegedly took a trip to Israel with former Chief of Department Phillip Banks that was paid for by
    politically connected Jewish businessmen, the lawsuit notes.

    In May, Abraham Winkler and Braver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the attack in exchange for three years’ probation.

    A third attacker, Mayer Herskovic, is headed to trial and charges against two others were dismissed.

    A city Law Department spokesman said that the complaint will be reviewed.

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