Brooklyn, NY – One of the five Hasidic men accused of beating a gay black man in Dec. 2013 will have his charges dropped after failing to be identified by a witness.
The witness against Aharon Hollender, 29, a member of Shomrim – a Jewish neighborhood patrol – was not identified by the witness during an identification process in February, according to the NY Daily News.
Five suspects were charged in April 2014 in the beating of Taj Patterson, 23, who lost vision in his right eye as a result of the beating. Patterson was allegedly attacked by the group of ultra-Orthodox men in Dec. 2013 while walking home through the Satmar neighborhood in Williamsburg.
Patterson’s eye-socket was shattered and his retina torn during the attack.
The only witness who pointed at Hollender as being part of the group did not know Hollender, as opposed to the witnesses for the other four men charged – Abraham Winkler, Mayer Herskovic, Pinchas Braver and Joseph Fried –who recognized them from previous encounters.
The witness for Hollender was a good Samaritan who stopped to help Patterson.
The beating was first investigated as a hate crime due to allegations of homophobic slurs being yelled at Patterson during the attack. According to the report, the men may have initiated the attack after suspecting Patterson of vandalizing cars.
All five defendants will appear at a routine hearing Thursday.