Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man, was brutally beaten by a group supporting the Palestinians as violent clash broke out between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters in Times Square. Waseem Awawdeh was arrested by the NYPD while the search for other attackers continues.
Directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to work with NYPD in investigations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement condemning the attacks on Jewish New Yorkers. "I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers and we will not tolerate anti-Semitic violent gang harassment and intimidation," he said in a statement.
"New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence," he added.
Borgen Was Maced and Pepper Sprayed by Attackers
In a video of the attack that has gone viral on social media, Borgen is seen lying on the ground as a group of men continue to attack him. The incident took place on Broadway near West 49th Street.
Speaking to CBS 2, Borgen said that he was on his way to attend a pro-Israel rally at 47th and Seventh when suddenly a group attacked him. "There was a rally at this location last week, which I had gone to," Borgen said. "I wore a yarmulke last week, and nothing big happened. I showed up for the same rally this week. I got off the subway at 6:30 and started walking to the rally, and before I could even make it to the rally, a few blocks away, a guy started chasing me."
"I tried to get away, and the next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a whole crowd of people who proceeded to kick me, punch me, beat me down," said the 29-year-old accountant.
"I felt a liquid being poured on my face and at first I thought I was getting urinated on, but it tuned out I was getting maced and pepper sprayed. My face was on fire. That pain was worse than the concussion and all this other stuff that followed."
It was only after cops broke it up that Borgen was saved and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Borgen who suffered a concussion said that he has bruises all over his body. "I have a black eye. My face is banged up. I'm just sore all over my body. They were kicking me in my ribs, my stomach," he added.
Search For Attackers Launched
"Following the attack on Borgen, the police arrested 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh of Brooklyn. Speaking to ABC the police said that Awawdeh used his crutches to beat Borgen during the attack. he He was charged with assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Around half an hour later a firework was shot from a pickup truck loaded with of Palestinian flag-waving protesters. The explosive caused burns to a 55-year-old woman who was walking on the street.
In a tweet posted on Friday, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, "There is NO place for hate of ANY kind, against ANY group, by ANYONE in NYC. This, and every incident, will be fully investigated by @NYPDHateCrimes — as they always do. This is a time for NYers to come #together, to be New Yorkers above all else."