By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com December 10 2013 2:20 PM ET
A gay man in Brooklyn, N.Y., has accused a group of Hasidic Jewish men of attacking him.
The victim, Taj Patterson, told the New York Daily News that he was physically and verbally assaulted by about a dozen Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood after a night out with friends.
“I’m walking down some block by myself and then the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a group of Hasidic Jewish men and they’re attacking me,” Patterson said. “I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons.”
The attack occurred at about 4:30 a.m. December 1 as Patterson was walking home to his residence in Fort Greene. Although he was intoxicated, the 22-year-old fashion student recalls antigay slurs spoken by the gang's leader, who he says pushed him against a wall and kicked him repeatedly in the face.
“He told me to ‘stay down, faggot, stay the f--- down,’” Patterson said. “And that’s really all I can remember of that.”
Evelyn Keys, a bus driver, witnessed the attack and rushed to the injured man’s side.
“I get out of the bus and all these men were standing up straight around him,” Keys said. “Taj is laying down on his back. I went up to him and he was in so much pain. He says, ‘I can’t see ... I can’t breathe.’ ”
Patterson was taken to the nearby Woodhull Hospital, where he was treated for injuries that included cuts, bruises, and damage to his skull and eyes. He is expected to undergo surgery to reattach his retina.
The New York Police Department's hate-crimes unit is currently investigating the attack.