Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 41-year-old Staten Island man has been convicted of charges of felony attempted assault, misdemeanor assault and menacing for a 2018 unprovoked attack against three Jewish men wearing Hasidic clothing that took place in Borough Park.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s violent conduct has no place in Brooklyn, where we value diversity and welcome all religions. He has now been held accountable and today’s verdict should send a strong message to anyone who would commit this kind of outrageous and unprovoked attack.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Farrukh Afzal, 41, of Mariners Harbor, Staten Island. He was convicted today of second-degree attempted assault, third-degree assault and third-degree menacing following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte. He was acquitted of hate crime enhancements that were attached to each of those three counts. The defendant faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced on September 15, 2022.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on October 14, 2018, at approximately 7:25 a.m., the defendant was driving a cab on 13th Avenue and 44th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn. As he drove past a Hasidic man, the defendant allegedly swerved his car as if to hit him, causing the man to run away so he wouldn’t get struck.
Furthermore, according to evidence that included video surveillance footage, the defendant then sped up, drove for another block and a half and stopped. He got out of his cab and ran towards another Hasidic man, 62, who was standing at the corner of 13th Avenue and 46th Street. The defendant allegedly struck the victim, who ran, and chased him into the intersection, where he continued to beat and body-slam him, causing lacerations and bruising to the face and body. As the defendant ran towards the victim, he did not attack a delivery man who was not wearing Hasidic garb, but was closer to him, the evidence showed. A third Hasidic man tried to intervene and was chased by the defendant.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Hagler and Assistant District Attorney Isabel Hernandez of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Bureau Chief.