A second person has been arrested in connection with the attack on a Jewish man near Times Square during protests in New York City last week, the New York Police Department said Monday.
The NYPD arrested Faisal Elezzi, 25, and is recommending charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, NYPD confirmed to CNN.
CNN has reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to find out what charges Elezzi will ultimately face.
CNN was not able to immediately identify an attorney for Elezzi but the Legal Aid Society said he hasn’t been assigned an attorney at this time or been arraigned yet.
The assault was one of a string of attacks against Jewish people in the US as tensions flared over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that saw hundreds killed over 11 days, most of them Palestinian, in violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The sides agreed to a ceasefire on May 20.
On Saturday, Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arraigned in criminal court on charges of assault in the second degree as a hate crime and attempted gang assault in the first degree, according to a statement from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.’s office.
Awawdeh was arrested after the police released images of four people sought in the attack on Joseph Borgen, a 29-year-old Jewish man.
Borgen, who was wearing a yarmulke at the time of the assault, told police he was punched, kicked and sprayed with pepper spray by five to six men who allegedly yelled antisemitic statements including “F**k Jews,” and “F**k Israel.”
Video shows attack
Surveillance video shows the victim in the attack walking alone on Broadway on Thursday night when two individuals knock him to the ground and begin punching and kicking him, according to the complaint in Awawdeh’s case.
The complaint says he, along with two other individuals, approached the victim while they were on the ground and piled on to the attack.
Awawdeh is seen on surveillance video repeatedly striking the victim’s body with a metal crutch while the victim is trying to shield himself from the attack, according to the complaint. Awawdeh fled from the scene of the incident but was eventually stopped by police.
Borgen told CNN’s Don Lemon that the attack took him by surprise as he was headed to a rally.
“Next thing you know, out of the corner of my eye I see someone chasing me from behind and before I can even react, I was surrounded by a crowd of people who, as you saw in the video, proceeded to beat me down and then, after the fact, pepper spray and mace me,” he explained.
“As soon as they were on top of me, attacking me, I was literally, fell to the ground just protecting my head, protecting my face, doing what I could to ensure that you know, honestly, my main thought was to survive at that point, make it out alive and you know, we’ll see what happens next.”
Borgen said that police showed up quickly and he met with senior members of the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force while he was being treated at the hospital after the attack.
He said he doesn’t want to seek revenge on his attackers and wondered about the level of hate displayed.
“What made attackers or individuals, get to that point of hate, that they saw an innocent bystander, innocent individual walking and proceeded to you know, first thing they do is attack them and hurt them and pepper spray them and attempt to seriously hurt them,” Borgen asked.
“My main takeaway would be to understand where they are coming from because I don’t get it, to be honest,” he added. “Nothing in my life has ever made me want to do that to anybody.”