Williamsburg Shomrim Patrol Pair Plead Guilty To Reduced Charges In Beating of Gay Black Man

Brooklyn, NY – Two of the men arrested in the December 2013 beating of a black man in Williamsburg will avoid jail time, pleading guilty yesterday to charges of unlawful imprisonment in a Brooklyn State Supreme Court.

The two men, 22 year old Pinchas Braver and 42 year old Abraham Winkler, will receive three years probation, serve 150 hours of community service and pay $1,400 in restitution.

Both are expected to be sentenced on August 9th.

Prosecutor Marc Fliedner requested that the two men not be allowed to perform their community service in Williamsburg but rather be assigned to a “culturally diverse neighborhood outside of where this unlawful imprisonment took place.”

As previously reported on TOT News, Taj Patterson was badly beaten by a group of men as he walked on Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg in the early morning hours on December 1st.

Patterson 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.

They shouted anti-gay slurs and beat him up, prosecutors said.

Witnesses came to Patterson’s aid and the 22 year old aspiring fashion designer suffered a broken eye socket and a torn retina in the attack, leaving him permanently blind in one eye.

Five men were arrested in the attack but charges against 31 year old Aharon Hollender and 28 year old Joseph Fried were subsequently dropped.

A fifth man arrested in the attack, 24 year old Mayer Heskovic, declined to accept the plea deal and will stand trial for his part in the beating.

“I’m pleased that two of the people involved in Taj Patterson’s beating are now criminals,” said attorney Andrew Stoll, who represents Patterson. “If Herskovic wants to roll the dice and take his chances with a Brooklyn jury, I guess that’s what juries are there for.”

Stoll called for an investigation into Williamsburg Shomrim as controversy continues to swirl around the case.

Prosecutors are said to be looking into why witnesses changed their original version of events, forcing the district attorney’s office to seek less severe charges in the case.

An NYPD sergeant who was found to have prematurely closed the case, causing a 48 hour delay in the investigation, was punished several weeks ago with the loss of 10 vacation days.

A photograph of Braver taking a VIP tour of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct last year surfaced several weeks ago, creating further questions in light of last month’s reassignment of the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector James Grant, as part of the NYPD corruption scandal.

“It’s just further evidence that the Shomrim are not just tolerated by the NYPD they are for all purposes an extension of the NYPD which is unsurprising given that they’re funded and receive law enforcement equipment directly from the City,” said Stoll.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Two of the five Hasidic men arrested for the brutal beating of an openly gay black man in Williamsburg took plea deals Wednesday for reduced charges.

    Pinchas Braver, 22, and Abraham Winkler, 42, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Supreme Court to unlawful imprisonment for their role in the Dec. 1, 2013, assault on Taj Patterson.

    The 25-year-old victim suffered a broken eye socket and torn retina in the attack, which was investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit after witnesses said the suspects were shouting anti-gay remarks at Patterson.

    Braver and Winkler were able to score plea deals because the prosecution’s main witnesses had changed their accounts of what happened, leaving the DA with little evidence of bias.

    Both got three years’ probation and 150 hours of community service to be served in a “culturally diverse neighborhood outside of where this unlawful imprisonment took place.”

    A third defendant, Mayer Herskiovic, 24, rejected the plea deal and will return to court on Aug. 9 to face trial.

    Charges against the other alleged attackers — Aharon Hollender, 31, and Joseph Fried, 28 — were dismissed in 2014 and 2015.

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