Twitter/Barry Spitzer

Man Charged With Hate Crime Assault Following Brutal Brooklyn Beating

October 15, 2018 - 8:12 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A livery cab driver was arrested Sunday on assault charges after allegedly attacking a Jewish man in Brooklyn.

Authorities say the attack happened at around 7:30 a.m. in Borough Park near 46th Street and 13th Avenue.

The victim, 62-year-old Leopold Schwartz, suffered cuts and bruises to his head during the beating.

Surveillance videos shows the driver get out of his car and chase Schwartz, who was on his way to service at a local synagogue at the time.

“I was like this. And all of a sudden… boof, boof, boof, boof!” the father of nine told CBS2 News, referring to the barrage of punches that came his way. “So I start to fight back because it’s either death or life.”

Police said the attacker took down Schwartz in the middle of an intersection and began beating him. The assault only ended when another bystander stepped in to intervene.

“I’m telling you if he had a knife he would stab me right on the place. No doubt,” Schwartz explained.

Bystanders held the driver at the scene until police arrived.

Farrukh Afzal, 37, of Staten Island, is facing charges of hate crime assault, mischief and harassment.

It’s unclear what Afzal’s motive for the attack was.

Police believe this may be a case of mistaken identity, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported. Police believe someone hit Afzal's car for no reason while he was stopped at a red light and he mistook Schwartz for the man who did it.

Officials with Brooklyn’s Community Board 12 tweeted that they have already spoken with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force and met with the victim at a local hospital.