Road Rage or a Hate Crime? Brutal Beating in Borough Park Sparks Outrage

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The brutal attack took place at the intersection of 46th and 13th, apparently sparked by a man crossing the street too slowly (Screenshot via Google Maps)

BOROUGH PARK – Over the weekend, a brutal attack on a Jewish man in the streets of Brooklyn has led to public outcry over what could be a case of extreme road rage or a hate crime.

The assault happened on Sunday morning, around 7:30 am, at 46th Street and 13th Avenue in Borough Park. A livery driver, Farrukh Afzal, 37, left his vehicle and attacked Lipa Schwartz, 62, in the intersection.

In the video, Afzal knocks Schwartz to the ground, standing above him and raining down blows on the older man. A bystander attempts to intervene, but is chased away by Afzal.

It is unclear what led to the attack, with Afzal’s lawyer claiming that Schwartz punched the window of his client’s car during an argument that started when Afzal honked his horn, frustrated by how long it took the 62-year-old to cross the street. That sparked yelling between the two men, which led to the alleged hitting of the window and ultimately, the assault in the street.

NYPD arrested Afzal and originally charged him with assault as a hate crime, but as of Sunday night, the charges had been reduced to attempted assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, menacing and harassment, according to the NY Post.

According to police, Farrukh Afazal has eight prior arrests on his record.

Schwartz suffered bruising and cuts on his head from the attack, but had left the hospital and was recovering at home, according to an interview with the BoroPark24 blog.

The attack galvanized a strong reaction on Twitter, where it was roundly condemned by politicians and local leaders, including Borough President Eric Adams.

The attack is yet another in a series of attacks on members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn this year.

Over the summer, two men attacked a 22-year old rabbinical student in Crown Heights, near the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters. They were charged with assault as a hate crime.

And in April, a 52-year-old Jewish man was beaten by a man in an anti-Semitic attack near the Kingsbrook Medical Center.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not saying that this creep who beat a man that was old enough to be his father was right, he belongs in jail but sometimes the attitude of some Hasids gets people upset because they think they own the streets. This is the 2nd incident in a week in Boro Park with the other being the Hasid they arrested for purposely blocking traffic after being told numerous times to get on the sidewalk. This is either all of our’s community and respect is to be shown to everyone or situations like this will happen out of frustration. Personally, I’m Jewish and this perp seems like an Arab or a Asian muslim of some kind so maybe that was part of his motive for flipping out but 13th Ave is full of Hasids how come many people didn’t try to protect the old man? Try and treat each other with respect and not treat others like we are better and they don’t count.

  2. There shouldn’t be a special category of “hate crimes”. There should be one set of laws, and corresponding penalties, that apply equally to everyone–and that get enforced equally.

  3. Mr. Peck asks how come people didn’t try to protect the old man. I think this happened at 7:30 am. Not that many people are out and about at that time, and the one man who tried to intervene was driven away by the continuing rage of the attacker. The police are currently treating this as an assault, not a hate crime, and I understand JK’s point. How can we know what the motives of an attacker are? The fact that the assailant was (probably–we can’t be sure) Muslim is less significant than the fact, also noted in the article, that he has “8 prior arrests”. Whatever his motives, this man seems to be a menace, and rather than trying to figure out why he’s doing what he does, we may be better off trying to prevent him from attacking others. If it’s “road rage,” he shouldn’t be driving. If he’s mentally disturbed, he should be under psychiatric care. (Maybe both approaches are needed.)

  4. What non sense. There is a 2nd clip where the guy is standing in middle of the block and the attacker is speeding down the Street, jumps out, runs about 30 feet and starts attacking. no previous contact / confrontation. Balant bias

  5. regardless of what happened before this clip, no one has the right to hit and beat up another person. This is a 37 year old taking out his frustrations on a senior. How would he feel if he was the victim?

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