Brooklyn, NY - Police Release New Video As Public Officials, Mother Of Victim Decry Attack; Reward Grows To $10,000
Brooklyn, NY - One day after a Chasidic man was stabbed in the back as he walked down a residential street in Crown Heights, new video has been released by the NYPD showing clear footage of the suspect in what is now being investigated as a possible bias attack, with reward money for information leading to an arrest doubling to $10,000.
As previously reported on VIN News, 25 year old Yehuda Leib Brikman who just married at the end of January was walking down Empire Avenue yesterday shortly before noon when a man who walked past him stabbed him in the back without provocation.
Newly released surveillance footage shows the attacker striding confidently down the street less than ten minutes after the attack, dressed in a black hooded jacket, black shoes and pants, a maroon stocking cap, a royal blue hooded sweatshirt and a black knapsack.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force has been called in to investigate the stabbing and police described the suspect as a male black, between 20 and 30 years old, 5’10” and weighing 180 pounds.
Below new surveillance from the NYPD on the suspect.
Brikman, who was dressed in Chasidic garb at the time of the attack, sustained a collapsed lung and is recuperating in Kings County Hospital. Police are looking for any connection to another stabbing which took place in November, when a 34 year old Chasidic Hatzolah member was stabbed as he walked down Eastern Parkway.
The Anti-Defamation League announced a $5,000 reward yesterday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of the attack, doubling the reward money to $10,000 today.
Two press conferences were held today in Brooklyn in regard to yesterday’s attack. The first, was held in Bedford-Stuyvestant by Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, who was joined by Senator Jesse Hamilton, City Council members Mark Treyger, Jumaane Williams and Laurie Cumbo, activist Devorah Halberstam and ADL’s regional director Evan Bernstein. Adams denounced the violence demonstrated both in Brikman’s stabbing as well as a Wednesday knife attack that left a 26 year old man dead in Bedford-Stuyvestant.
Bernstein called on all city resident to unite in an effort to prevent any further hate crimes, no matter who their intended target may be.
“It’s more than just the traditional Orthodox community, it is about all the minority groups in the city,” said Bernstein. “We all need to come together to stop hate and do whatever we can to build bridges, create dialogue and stop this circle of hate.”
A late afternoon press conference held by public advocate Letitia James at the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council brought elected officials and community leaders together to express outrage about the attack and to show their support for the victim’s family.
Borough President Adams referenced the Lubavitcher Rebbe in his call for togetherness.
“This is one Crown Heights that came from the rebbe of this community,” said Adams. “This is one community ... all of us, let us continue to be together. As long as we are together, as a community, no one will ever be able to divide us.”
“We are a diverse district,” added Councilwoman Cumbo whose district includes Crown Heights. “We are a microcosm of the City of New York and we represent the very best of what New York has to offer and that is our diversity.”
In an emotional address, the victim’s mother, Mrs. Rivka Brikman, who together with her husband Rabbi Chaim Brikman serve as the Chabad shluchim to Sea Gate and Coney Island, thanked the many representatives who came to the press conference to show their support, noting how incredible it seemed that her son could have been stabbed in broad daylight in a relatively populated area.
“He was not alone because G-d was with him, because had G-d not been with him he would have not been alive,’ said Mrs. Brikman.
Mrs. Brikman noted that events in Crown Heights have global ramifications, particularly for Lubavitcher Chasidim, with its worldwide network of shluchim and that once word of the stabbing got out, her phone was inundated with calls and texts from all over the world.
“The Crown Heights community is the center where everything happens,” said Mrs. Brikman. “Lubavitch headquarters are here, but Lubavitch sends emissaries all over the world. When this crime happened the whole world heard about it.”
Mrs. Brikman spoke about the difficulty of having to pull her new daughter in law, a teacher, out of her classroom to tell her that her husband had been stabbed. She had strong words about the suspect, calling for his apprehension and arrest.
“I really beg you from a mother’s heart to find the murderer,” said Mrs. Brikman, who noted that the attacker may well have intended to kill her son. She said that one of her younger children could not comprehend why anyone would stab his brother.
“It is hate,” remarked Mrs. Brikman. “And hate hates. Therefore I say what saved my son was Hashem, was G-d.”
Mrs. Brikman said that despite his own injuries, her son Laiby has one thought on his mind: making sure that the attacker is apprehended before he strikes again.
“He begged me to give over the message, that we make sure that this individual, this person, this murderer, is caught so that this does not happen again. He is worried for, G-d forbid, the next person that could be hurt because evil does evil does evil.”
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