New York Shomrim accused of ‘shutting down’ witnesses over gay beating


Three strictly Orthodox men accused of attacking a gay black man - leaving him blind in one eye - will avoid prison time, according to reports.

Taj Patterson, 25, was allegedly assaulted by three members of the New York Satmar community while walking down a street in Brooklyn, in December 2013.

Mr Patterson suffered injuries including a broken eye socket, as well as a torn retina which left one eye permanently disabled.

After a lengthy investigation, the accused - Abraham Winkler, Mayer Herskovic and Pinchas Braver - will be set free after signing a plea deal, the New York Daily News (NYDN) reported today.

Mr Winkler was a member of the Shomrim Community Patrol in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the time.

Mr Patterson’s lawyer Andrew Stoll alleged that witnesses had volunteered to give testimony but were pressured by the Shomrim not to do so, leaving him unable to advance the case any further.

He told the NYDN that “the Shomrim claim they are committed to justice, yet they shut down witnesses with an efficiency the mafia would envy.

“They banish and shun any member of their community who dares to come forward.”

Williamsburg Shomrim has not responded to requests for comment, but released a statement following the attack which said that “the acts alleged in these indictments are contrary to our mission and our membership.

“The Williamsburg Shomrim Safety Patrol condemns all acts of vigilantism in any form and treats all members of the greater community with the dignity and respect they all deserve.”

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