It was standing-room only at the Hate Crimes Community Forum in Crown Heights, as the community came out to learn about the most recent efforts to address the rise in hate crimes. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez presented this informative event in collaboration with the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force at the Jewish Children’s Museum.
“It’s a ripple-out effect,” explained Deputy Inspector Mark Molinari, who is the Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force. He detailed how the goal is to investigate all incidents quickly so as to stop any recurrence by the same individual. The Deputy Inspector also emphasized that both the arrests and prosecutions of those who commit hate crimes are going very well. It was underlined that a possible hate crime requires automatic notification to an executive.
Audience members made statements, asked questions and shared their own traumatic experiences. One yeshivah student from abroad spoke of being “pummeled by a group of six” and losing consciousness. A young woman spoke of having rocks thrown at her. A local teacher brought up concerns for her students. A six-year-old boy asked, “When will hate crimes against Jews end?” By the end of the forum, residents were reassured that their needs are being addressed.
Devorah Halberstam, cofounder and director of External Affairs for the Jewish Children’s Museum told Hamodia, “I think our law enforcement agencies needed to explain to the community what happens when an attack does occur and how the system works, from the beginning to end.”
Also, in attendance was New York City Council member Mathieu Eugene, Rabbi Michael Miller of the JCRC, Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Center, Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Louis Welz and Larry Spiewak of COJO – Flatbush, and other notable individuals and community leaders.
* If you believe you were a victim of a hate crime, please notify your local police officers or your neighborhood coordination offices.