WILLIAMSBURG – A couple was arrested after allegedly shouting anti-Semitic slurs at three Jewish men, while also trying to take off their face covering and blaming them for the coronavirus. The incident is being treated as a hate crime.
On Sunday, May 10 at around 8:30 p.m., 46-year-old Clelia Pianho and 35-year-old Paulo Pianho approached three Jewish men near Ross Street and Bedford Avenue. The couple allegedly made some anti-Semitic remarks. Then, the Pianhos tried to take off their face covering, while allegedly saying, “You’re the reason why we’re getting sick,” ABC News reported. The men refused medical attention and the suspects were soon arrested.
This comes just before a new report came out on how anti-Semitic incidents hit a record high in 2019 in the U.S. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents in 2019, with 61 physical assault cases, 1,127 instances of harassment and 919 acts of vandalism.
“We don’t accept bias in New York City. We don’t accept hate in any form, any act of bias, any hate crime, we pursue it. We make sure there are consequences for the perpetrator,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the incident during his press conference on Monday. “That’s something that people have seen time and time again in this city, that we take it seriously. All of us take us seriously. We take us seriously here in the City government and the NYPD takes it seriously.”
“Now, last night, a different incident in South Williamsburg… This is obviously absolutely unacceptable in every way. It’s something that expresses hate, but also create danger, and that’s unacceptable, and we’re not going to allow it here in this city,” he continued. “The two perpetrators have been arrested by the NYPD, and we are treating this incident as a hate crime. So, there are serious consequences when someone commits one of these acts.”
“So, look, whether it is this horrible anti-Semitic act that we saw or the horrible anti-Asian acts we saw in previous weeks, none of these acts of bias and discrimination are acceptable in New York City,” he said. “And the fact that the perpetrators were arrested immediately is a reminder to everyone out there; we will not tolerate hate, we will act on it quickly. Anyone who engages in an act of hate will be suffering the consequences of their actions.”