Lakewood Briefs

Municipal Building Stabber Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

The attacker who stabbed an Orthodox man in Lakewood’s municipal building last February was sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated assault as well as to an additional charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Reginald Patillo, a 48-year-old Lakewood resident, attacked the victim with a knife wounding him several times. Shortly afterwards he punched a police officer who had begun questioning him. The attack was judged to be a random act of violence.

The victim was briefly hospitalized and has since recovered from the incident.

Last November, Patillo pleaded guilty to the charges and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer is recommended a sentence of no less than 10 years in prison with no possibly of early release.

Last Friday, Judge Michael T. Collins announced the sentence. Under the terms of New Jersey’s “No Early Release Act,” which governs sentences for many violent crimes, he will have to serve at least 85 percent of the 10-year term.

NAACP Leader Suspended over Remarks about Lakewood and Jews

A New Jersey regional NAACP leader was suspended over negative remarks regarding the Orthodox community which singled out Lakewood.

At a December 30 meeting about the effects of gentrification on lower class families, James Harris who chair’s the NAACP’s education committee for the town of Montclair, referred to Lakewood as the “Orthodox center of the United States of America” and went onto use it as a key example of the topic of this talk.

“The Jewish community controls the Board of Education and the City Council, but they spend huge amounts of money sending kids to the yeshivah, and they gutted the budget for the black and Latino students who are left in the public schools,” he said.

He went on to express his views of Orthodox Jews in general and to blame them for “gentrification” trends.

“How many people are familiar with the Hasidics?” he said. “The Hasidics are generally not too friendly to anybody other than themselves. So, some stress started to develop because people remember Brooklyn and Lakewood. Are we going to be displaced by these people who are not all that friendly?”

In addition to his position at NAACP, Mr. Harris also serves as president of the New Jersey Association of Black Educators.

Shortly after his comments were made public, Al Pelham, the president of Montclair’s chapter announced that he would be suspended from the organization for six months and condemned the comments calling them a “clear contradiction of the NAACP’s mission.”

It is not the first time a New Jersey NAACP leader has been called out for anti-Semitic comments. This past August Jeffry Dye, who leads the organization’s chapter in Passaic was fired from a position in the Murphy administration after revelation of a long line of divisive comments about Jews and his town’s Assemblyman Gary Schear who he referred to as a “slave master.”

After NAACP announced Mr. Harris’ suspension, he issued an apology for his remarks that he said had “been interpreted as anti-Semitic.”

Rep. Smith Supports Soleimani Strike

Rep. Chris Smith expressed strong support of the recent US strike in Iraq that killed Iranian General Qasam Solemani before casting his vote in opposition of a measure to curb the administration’s war powers.

“The action by President Trump was justified, proportionate and above all necessary to protect American lives,” Rep. Smith (R-NJ) said on the House of Representatives floor.

The Congressman quoted statements by General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the strike was based on “clear, unambiguous intelligence indicating a significant campaign of violence against the United States in the days, weeks, and months,” and that failure to act would have been “culpably negligent.”

“Soleimani is responsible for killing over 600 Americans and disabling thousands more. He is directly responsible for massive death and injury of innocent civilians in the region. In the last two months alone, he orchestrated 11 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq—killing an American contractor and wounding four soldiers—and for the attack on our embassy in Baghdad,” said Rep. Smith.

Rep. Smith went on to criticize the House resolution, which went on to pass the House largely on party lines.

“It is astonishing that the resolution under consideration by the House today has absolutely no legal power, is non-binding — and by design can neither be signed nor vetoed by the president,”

The measure was supported by Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) who presented it as necessary to preserve Congress’ role in acts that could lead the nation into war. He issued a statement calling for the administration to present a “long-term strategy.”