Man Who Choked Jew in Crown Heights Found Guilty of Hate Crimes

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Rabbi Moskowitz (R) with Crown Heights community activist Rabbi Yaacov Behrman watching the verdict, Wednesday.

A guilty verdict was handed down Wednesday in the trial of James Vincent, the man who was accused of attacking Rabbi Menachem Moskowitz while he was walking home on Shabbos, three years ago.

Vincent was convicted of offenses including strangulation and assault as hate crimes. The verdict ended a broadly watched trial of the 40-year-old James Vincent, who according to the charges filed accosted Rabbi Moscowitz on April 21, 2018, at approximately 1 p.m.

Rabbi Moscowitz, 52 at the time, was walking home from his shul after davening. As he walked past the defendant in the vicinity of Rutland Road and East 46th Street in East Flatbush, the defendant allegedly yelled, “You [expletive] Jew, you Jews took my house and mortgage.” Rabbi Moscowitz continued walking.

Vincent then ran from behind Moscowitz, placed his hands on his neck and applied pressure, the evidence shows. He then punched Moscowitz in the head and body, put his arms around his head and applied pressure. Two bystanders intervened, all while Vincent continued to yell epithets regarding the victim’s religion.

Rabbi Moscowitz suffered various injuries to the head and body in the attack.

Several surveillance videos from the area helped to identify the defendant and the investigation revealed that he purchased ice cream in a nearby store using a card bearing his name. He was arrested on April 27, 2018.


In a statement to Hamodia, Crown Heights community activist Rabbi Yaacov Behrman said, “This was a brutal antisemitic attack that traumatized the entire Crown Heights community and was widely criticized by all leaders in Crown Heights and elected officials. We want to thank the district attorney and the police department for seeing this through. We hope the healing now can begin.”

Rabbi Moscowitz said, “I want to thank Klal Yisroel worldwide for chizzuk and for helping me and my family get through this difficult time. I hope this verdict leads to the streets of Brooklyn becoming safer.”

In a statement, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “Today’s verdict speaks to Brooklyn’s resolve to combatting and rooting out hate from our communities. The defendant has been brought to justice for this senseless, disturbing and hateful crime against a man simply walking home from his synagogue. Brooklyn’s strength is in its diversity and I remain committed to vigorously prosecuting bias-motivated violence.”

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