Mayer Herskovic, a Hasidic man who is on trial for his role in an assault on gay African-American Taj Patterson that left the latter blind in one eye, was accused on Wednesday by the victim of being the “ringleader,” the NY Daily News reported. Herskovic is looking at 25 years in prison for his role in the attack. His DNA was found on the heel of Patterson’s sneaker, which was found on the roof of a nearby building.
Police presented security camera footage showing a large group of Hasidic men converging on a street corner.
Patterson, 25, testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court that on Dec. 1, 2013, around 4:30 AM, following a birthday party, he was walking home to Fort Greene through Williamsburg, and was chased on Flushing Ave. by three Hasidic men who screamed “something negative” at him. Moments later, Patterson testified, as many as 17 more Hasidic men joined the attack.
“They threw me to the ground, dragged me on my knees, told me to ‘stay on the ground you [expletive].’ I was kicked in the face and saw a flash of white,” Patterson told the court.
He testified that he was pinned down against a chain-linked fence and was kicked and punched by his assailants. “That same individual who stood in the middle of the three men kicked me in the face, the ringleader,” said Patterson. But he was not able to identify Mayer Herskovic as one of the assailants to police or to Judge Danny Chun. He was, however, able to punch the alleged leader and break his glasses, the defense found out during cross-examination.
Patterson has undergone three surgeries to treat facial fractures and severe retinal damage that’s left him blind in one eye.
Charges were dropped against two Hasidic men who had been indicted in 2014, and two other men, Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and were sentenced to 150 hours of community service and a $1,400 fine.