Thug charged with hate crime after he brutally attacked Orthodox Jewish man at random in ‘Knockout Game’
Amrit Marajh, 28, of Brooklyn, was arrested on charges of assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime
He is alleged to have punched Shmuel Perl, an Orthodox Jewish man, in the face
Police are investigating if it was a so-called ‘Knockout Game’ assault, in which the object is to knock out an unsuspecting person with one punch
Daily Mail / UK by David Mccormack by Associated Press Reporter November 25, 2013
New York City police have arrested a man on charges of assault as a hate crime after a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man was punched in the face.
Police are investigating whether it was part of a so-called ‘Knockout Game’ assault, in which the object is to knock out an unsuspecting person with one punch.
Amrit Marajh, 28, of Brooklyn, had just left a bar at around 2:45a.m. on Friday with three friends and was talking about boxing when the topic of the knockout game came up, police sources said.
His victim, Shmuel Perl, 24, has said that he overheard his alleged attackers daring each other to punch him out minutes before he was actually assaulted. Perl was stuck once, but wasn’t seriously injured.
Marajh was arrested on charges of assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime and released after posting $750 bail. His three friends were taken into custody, but released without charge.
Marajh’s lawyer has denied that the attack had anything to do with the brutal game, but New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said there was no question that the game was the motive for the attack, reports ABC.
‘He makes a statement that he was punched in the side of the face,’ Kelly said. ‘He also makes a statement that just prior to it they were talking about the “Knockout Game”.’
Police are investigating similar recent incidents, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. At least two deaths have been linked to the attacks this year.
New York City police have deployed additional officers to city neighborhoods where at least seven attacks occurred in the past few weeks, including an assault on a 78-year-old woman.
Authorities and psychologists say the ‘Knockout Game’ assaults have been around for decades – or longer – and it’s played mostly by impulsive teenage boys looking to impress their friends. Video: ‘Knockout Game’ Suspect Charged With Hate Crime
YAHOO News / AP
by JENNIFER PELTZ & COLLEEN LONG October 9, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) —
An undercover police detective accused of punching out an SUV window during a motorcycle rally that descended into violence was unmasked Wednesday in a courtroom where he was confronted with serious assault charges.
But Detective Wojciech Braszczok’s lawyer insisted he would be exonerated by the very video prosecutors say incriminates him in the Sept. 29 melee.
“The allegation is that he struck the rear portion hatchback window, which has a gaping hole already in it; it’s already destroyed,” attorney John Arlia said. “Under the law, it’s a fatal flaw. You can’t break what’s already broken.”
Arlia said the video clearly shows Braszczok didn’t participate in the eventual attack on the SUV driver and was nowhere near him. Braszczok hasn’t been charged with assaulting the driver, Alexian Lien, who authorities say was pulled from his Range Rover and beaten on the street by other motorcyclists.
Braszczok, who appeared in court sporting a beard and wearing a hooded sweatshirt and camouflage pants, was charged with assault and criminal mischief.
Wojciech Braszczok, left, with face covered, leaves the courthouse in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Braszczok, an undercover police detective, was charged with gang assault in a motorcycle rally that descended into violence in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Cameras were barred in the courtroom because Braszczok’s lawyer said his safety would be jeopardized. Braszczok hid his face in his hood when he left court after posting bond.
Braszczok, a married father of two, has been on the job for a decade. He has worked in the New York Police Department’s intelligence division, quietly infiltrating and investigating. His lawyer said he has served “valiantly.”
But prosecutors said Braszczok was an active participant in the attack.
Braszczok was off duty when he joined the rally of more than 1,000 motorcyclists. Police say the bloody encounter was touched off when a motorcyclist and Lien’s SUV bumped. Video captured at the scene shows riders swarming around the SUV before the driver takes off, running over biker Edwin Mieses Jr.
Mieses, of Lawrence, Mass., broke his legs and suffered spine injuries that will leave him paralyzed, his family has said. He had gotten off his motorcycle to defuse the tense situation when he was mowed over, the family said.
Bikers give chase up Manhattan’s West Side Highway, caught up with the SUV, smashed the driver’s side window and dragged Lien out, authorities say.
Braszczok did nothing to stop the assault, prosecutors said. He didn’t call 911 and didn’t report it to his superiors for two days, and then when he did he lied about it, Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino said. At first Braszczok told investigators he didn’t see the attack, then changed his story to say he saw it but didn’t participate, she said.
The detective was stripped of his gun and badge after internal affairs detectives discovered he was present for at least part of the encounter. He initially told authorities and his union that he left without intervening in part because of his role as an undercover officer.
Uniformed officers, even off duty, are expected to jump in if a crime is occurring, but rules are murkier for undercover officers, who face blowing their covers if they come forward.
Investigators discovered video evidence showing Braszczok punching an already damaged back window, causing it to shatter, then twice kicking the passenger side of the SUV before leaving the scene, prosecutors said.
Clint Caldwell is arraigned in court Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, New York. Caldwell, 32, was charged Wednesday with gang assault after prosecutors said he pulled out the shattered glass from Alexian Lien’s car two weeks ago following a chase up Manhattan’s West Side Highway. (AP Photo/New York Post, Steven Hirsch, Pool)
Several bikers also have been charged with attacking Lien or his SUV or instigating the melee.
Clint Caldwell was charged Wednesday with gang assault after prosecutors said he pulled the shattered glass from Lien’s window and reached inside the SUV. His lawyer said there’s no video showing him with his hands inside the SUV.
Police charged another biker, James Kuehne, with gang assault, weapon possession and other crimes. It was unclear if Kuehne had an attorney, and a message left at his Brooklyn home wasn’t immediately returned.
Firefighter arrested for attacking cop outside Queens T.G.I. Friday’s
Lower East Side firefighter Angel Valerio and two pals mugged the off-duty copy and tried to swipe his gun at the Forest Hills eatery. Valerio faces seven years in prison if convicted. The other two men were still at large on Friday night.
New York Daily News by Kerry Burke & Thomas Tracy July 6, 2013
This member of New York’s Bravest had his Finest moment — but not in a good way.
Detectives busted Lower East Side firefighter Angel Valerio after he mugged an off-duty cop in Queens — and tried to run off with his gun, law enforcement sources said Friday.
The five-year FDNY veteran and three friends jumped the cop Sunday after a night of drinking at a Forest Hills T.G.I. Friday’s on Austin St. near 70th Road.
Incredibly, Valerio’s victim ID’d himself as a police officer and walked away — giving his assailants a free pass, the sources said. But the wolf pack instead followed the cop down the street, pummelled him and tried to run off with a backpack full of personal items, as well as the cop’s revolver, sources allege.
The boozy brawl began about 11:45 p.m. when Valerio and his friends stumbled out of the restaurant and clashed with the unnamed member of New York’s Finest on his way home from work.
Within moments, one of Valerio’s crew punched the cop, a complete stranger, sources said.
“The whole thing started off as a fight,” according to one source.
No NYPD equipment was in the backpack, sources said.
The cop managed to break free and run off, sources said. He was taken to a nearby hospital with bruises and scratches.
Sources said detectives connected the thieving crew to the T.G.I. Friday’s and finally to Valerio, who was charged at his arraignment with attempted robbery, assault and attempted criminal possession of a weapon for trying to grab hold of the cop’s weapon.
Valerio’s accomplices remained at large Friday night.
The firefighter was set free just before midnight after paying $1,000 in bail Friday night and is due back in court on July 29, according to a spokeswoman from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office.
If convicted, he faces seven years in prison.
His family didn’t know what to make of the arrest.
“We don’t know the full story yet,” Angel Valerio Sr. said from the family’s Bushwick home before hurridly hanging up the phone.
Valerio, who makes roughly $45,000 a year, is assigned to Engine Company 15 on Pitt St. in Manhattan.
An FDNY source said Valerio’s expected to be suspended now that he’s been arraigned.
REMEMBERING a FALLEN HERO & FRIEND… NYPD Officer Chris Hoban!
Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 4 years
Badge # 25547
Incident Date: 10/18/1988
Weapon: Handgun; .357 caliber
Suspect: Shot and killed
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Officer Hoban was shot and killed during an undercover drug buy. During the operation the three suspects began to suspect that Officer Hoban and his partner were police officers. When they searched Officer Hoban’s partner they located his service weapon. Officer Hoban immediately pulled out his gun and a shootout ensued in which Officer Hoban and one of the suspects were fatally wounded. The other suspects were sentenced to 25 years to life.
Officer Hoban had served with the agency for 4 years. He was survived by his parents and two brothers.
The NYPD is under fire from critics for putting mosques and Muslim facilities under surveillance. On Thursday, Rep. Peter King offered this response: “If you’re going after radical Muslims, you don’t go to Ben’s Kosher Deli.”
But what about Great Neck Glat, a kosher meat shop, which proudly flies the flag of Israel inside?
The anti-terror effort was focused there because many in the Great Neck Jewish community trace their roots back to Iran, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
Locals say they support the NYPD in general, but don’t know what to make of the surveillance.
“I hope they are not wasting their time,” said one local resident.
“I think we’re wasting time by spying on places like kosher butchers and kosher hair salons, basically Great Neck to begin with,” said business owner Benny Rafailov.
Congressman King, however, said to trust the NYPD.
“Something that may on the surface not necessarily be connected can make sense to them,” King said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the program earlier Friday, saying it was not “a political statement or a political football to play with.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union says it’s clear the police surveillance program has crossed a line.
“The NYPD is just putting people under surveillance by virtue of ethnicity, by virtue of national origin, by virtue of religion, but not by virtue of suspicious behavior or evidence of wrongdoing,” said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.
The NYPD surveillance also happened in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker both said it raises serious concerns.
Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly say the surveillance continues.