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Prosecutors Charge NYC Knife Attack Suspect With Hate Crime, Reveal Contents Of His Journals, Cell Phone

   DailyWire.com
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media outside the home of rabbi Chaim Rottenbergin Monsey, in New York on December 29, 2019 after a machete attack that took place earlier outside the rabbi's home during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in Monsey, New York. - An intruder stabbed and wounded five people at a rabbi's house in New York during a gathering to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah late on December 28, 2019, officials and media reports said. Local police departments, speaking to AFP, declined to give the number of people injured, but a suspect has been taken into custody and a vehicle safeguarded, an NYPD spokesman said. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

On Monday, federal prosecutors filed five hate crime charges against the man who wounded five Orthodox Jews during a Hanukkah celebration at the home of a rabbi Saturday night.

In a criminal complaint filed Monday with the Southern District of New York, Special Agent Julie S. Brown accuses the suspect — a 38-year-old African American man who family members say suffers from mental illness, specifically schizophrenia (his name is here redacted in accordance with Daily Wire policy on mass killers) — of “obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury.”

In the complaint, Brown provides previously unrevealed details about the contents of the suspect’s journals and cell phone indicating that he was potentially motivated by “anti-Semitic sentiments.”

“On or about December 28 , 2019, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, [the suspect], the defendant, intentionally obstructed, by force and threat of force, each victim listed below in the enjoyment of that victim’s free exercise of religious beliefs, and attempted to do which conduct was in and affected interstate commerce,” the complaint reads. “[The defendant’s] acts included an attempt to kill, and resulted in bodily injury to, each victim in Counts One through Five; the acts also included the use, attempted use, and threatened use of a dangerous weapon, to wit, a machete.”

After detailing the actions of the suspect the night of the attack — from entering the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, New York at around 9:52 p.m. to being pulled over by police at 11:59 p.m. and found with “what appeared to blood on [his] jacket, clothing, and hands” (excerpt of the report below) — Brown provides some key details concerning the possible motives of the suspect uncovered during the investigation.

In his handwritten journals, Brown found evidence of anti-Semitic views (formatting adjusted):

Based on my training and experience, it appears that several of the pages in the journals express ant-Semitic sentiments, such as:

  • Stating that the “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “powerful ppl (ebinoid Israelites [a reference to the ‘Black Hebrew Israelite’ movement).”
  • Questioning “why ppl mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide.”
  • Referring to “Adolf Hitler” and “Nazi Culture” on the same page as drawings of a Star of David and a Swastika.

A footnote on the first item explains:”The term ‘ebinoid Israelites’ appears to be a reference to the ‘Black Hebrew Israelite’ movement, in which groups of Africa-Americans assert that they are the descendants of the ancient Israelites. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have stated that some Black Hebrew Israelites espouse anti-Semitic beliefs.”

The Black Hebrew Israelites is the same group that made national headlines after members taunted the Covington Catholic High School students ahead of their encounter with a Native American demonstrator.

The complaint also lists a few of the red flag searches conducted on the suspect’s cell phone between Nov. 9 and Dec. 27, including:

  • “Why did Hitler hate the Jews”
  • “German Jewish Temples near me”
  • “Zionist Temples in Elizabeth NJ”
  • “Zionist Temples of Staten Island”
  • “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America”

The suspect’s cell phone was also used on the day of the attack to access an article titled “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What to Know,” the complaint reveals.

Below is an excerpt of the complaint’s summary of the alleged actions of the suspect from the start of the attack to his arrest (formatting adjusted):

On or about December 28, 2019, at approximately 9:52 p.m., an individual later identified as [redacted], the defendant, entered the home of a rabbi in the vicinity of Monsey, New York (the “Rabbi’s Home”), which is located next door to the rabbi’s synagogue (the “Synagogue”). Members of the local Hasidic community consider both the Rabbi’s Home and the Synagogue as places of worship. Dozens of congregants from the Synagogue were inside the Rabbi’s Home at the time, celebrating the end of Shabbat and the seventh night of Hanukkah by, among other things, lighting candles and reciting prayers. These congregants, including the victims listed above, were members of the Hasidic community and were, thus, easily identifiable as adherents to the Jewish faith.

When [Defendant] entered the Rabbi’s Home, he had his face covered with what appeared to be a scarf and said, in substance and in part, “no one is leaving.” [Defendant] then took out a machete and started stabbing and slashing people in the Rabbi’s Home. Five victims of [Defendant’s] attack […] were later hospitalized with serious bodily injuries, to include a severed finger, slash wounds, and deep lacerations. At least one victim is in critical condition with a skull fracture.

After the attack, [Defendant] fled. A witness followed [Defendant] and observed him enter the driver’s side of a gray car with New York State license plates (the “Car”) and drive away. Based on a review of a law enforcement database containing license plate reader data, the Car crossed the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to Manhattan, New York about one hour later, at approximately 11:02 p.m.

At approximately 11:49 p.m., officers from the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) found and stopped the Car in Manhattan. [Defendant] was the Car’s driver and sole occupant. The NYPD officers detected a strong smell of bleach coming from the Car, and observed what appeared to be blood on [Defendant’s] jacket, clothing, and hands. The NYPD officers placed [Defendant] under arrest.

Read the full legal complaint here.