Gay NYC Student Brutally Attacked By Group Of Orthodox Jewish Men In Alleged Hate Crime
Gay fashion student Taj Patterson was brutally assaulted in Brooklyn by what he describes as more than a dozen Hasidic Jewish men hurling anti-gay slurs. His assault left him with a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles.
Patterson is expected to undergo surgery to reattach his retina.
Taj Patterson, 22, was headed home to Fort Greene around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 1 when he says more than a dozen ultra-Orthodox Jewish men began assaulting him on Flushing Ave. and yelling, “Stay down, f----t!”
“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.”
Patterson was “highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent,” after the assault, according to a police complaint — but he remembers the ringleader.
“There was a crowd around him, cheering him on and getting him rowdy, and he would grab me and push me against the wall,” Patterson said.
An MTA bus driver, Evelyn Keys witnessed the attack and corroborates Patterson's story.
“I get out of the bus and all these men were standing up straight around him,” says Keys. “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.’"
The NYPD is investigating the case as a hate crime.