Cymbrowitz Sees Hate Crime Trial As A Test For Brooklyn District Attorney

Cymbrowitz Sees Hate Crime Trial As A Test For Brooklyn District Attorney
Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media, via Forward.
Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media, via Forward.

The trial for Shawn Schraeder, who is accused of assaulting a significant Jewish leader two years ago, started yesterday, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz chimed in by saying it is a major test for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and his handling of hate crimes.

The assault occurred on October 7, 2014 outside of the Barclays Center after an exhibition game between the Brooklyn Nets and a team from Tel Aviv, which was a fundraiser for the Israeli Defense Force. Leonard Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay Y, was clobbered in front of his two sons to the point of suffering a broken nose and multiple lacerations, according to the DA.

“This is a major test and an opportunity for District Attorney Ken Thompson to show that he will defend all communities equally from hate crimes,” said Cymbrowitz.

Schraeder was allegedly part of an anti-Israeli group that protested, and disrupted, the game at Barclays. Afterward, Schraeder reportedly shouted anti-Semitic comments such as, “you are child murderers,” while he pounded away at Petlakh in front of everyone, including his kids.

Schraeder was arrested 10 days after the incident in St. Louis, Missouri, and was extradited back to New York. Police chose not to charge him with a hate crime at the time, which incited outrage from the public, and caused local politicians to urge prosecutors to hit Schraeder with the bias charge.

In June 2015, less than a year after Schraeder’s arrest, DA Thompson conceded and added the bias charge to the six-count indictment. The trial started yesterday, and Cymbrowitz is hoping that justice will be served for the beloved community leader.

“Leonard Petlakh has devoted much of his career to promoting multi-cultural relations and the attack on him was a brutal example of the growing anti-Israel, anti-Jewish sentiment we’ve seen in Brooklyn and all across our city,” said Cymbrowitz. “I’m hopeful that this trial will prove that crimes motivated by hatred and bigotry in any of our communities will result in harsh consequences for those who commit them.”


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