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NYC Fashion Student Alleged Victim of Hate Crime By Hasidic Men

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday December 10, 2013

A fashion college student from New York City says he was assaulted on Dec. 1 by a group of Hasidic men who hurled anti-gay slurs towards him, the New York Daily News reports.

Taj Patterson, a student at the New York City College of Technology, was walking through Williamsburg, coming home from a party at around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 1, when he says that more than a dozen Hasidic men attacked him, shouting "Stay down, faggot!"

"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, 22, said. "I was alone. I was an easy target. I'm black. I'm gay, a whole slew of reasons."

After the attack, Patterson was rushed to the hospital and suffered a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles, according to the newspaper. He will have to have surgery to reattach his retina.

The New York Police Department's hate crime unit is currently investigating the attack. According to a police report, Patterson was "highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent," after he was beaten. Nevertheless, the student says he remembers the group's leader.

"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. He added that when the attacker was kicking him in the face "he told me to 'stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down.' And that's all I can remember of that."

Though Patterson cannot remember much, MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys witnessed the attack.

"I get out of the bus and all these men were standing up straight around him," Keys said. "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 incident is also impacting Patterson's mother, Zahra Patterson.

"I mean, we've been living in this community for close to 30 years, so you're telling me my son can't walk there anymore?" she said. "You cannot attack people walking down the street."