FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Staten Island Man Pleads Guilty to Anti-Jewish Assault
Punched Victim for Wearing IDF Hoodie; Will Be Sentenced to Jail and Probation
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Staten Island Man pleaded guilty to attempted assault as a hate crime for punching a Jewish man who was wearing a hoodie with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) emblem. The defendant was promised a sentence of 60 days in jail and three years’ probation in exchange for his guilty plea.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Brooklyn’s diversity is our strength and we do not tolerate violence that’s motivated by bias against any religious or national identity. The hateful and unprovoked assault this defendant admitted to today left one victim hurt, but also shook an entire community. His conviction, jailtime and probation should send a message that this kind of intolerance has serious consequences.”
Scott Richman, Anti-Defamation League Regional Director for New York and New Jersey, said, “We are grateful to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for securing a hate crime conviction in this case, sending a clear message that those who commit acts of hate-fueled violence, including based on a victim’s perceived associations, will be held accountable. ADL has documented how the Brooklyn Jewish community has been burdened with an outsized number of violent antisemitic incidents, and both law enforcement and the courts play a key role in responding and supporting communities in the wake of these attacks.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Suleiman Othman, 28, of Staten Island, NY. He pleaded guilty today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to attempted third-degree assault as a hate crime in exchange for a promised sentence of 60 days in jail followed by three years’ probation. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20, 2023.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on December 26, 2021, the victim, a 21-year-old Jewish man, was standing outside a Foot Locker on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, wearing a green hoodie with a yellow IDF emblem. The defendant approached him in the street and stated: “Why do you support those dirty Jews? What are you doing in my neighborhood? You mess with the killers. If you don’t take off your hoodie, I’m going to punch you.”
When the victim refused, the defendant punched him twice in the face and threw a cup of iced coffee on him. He was treated at the scene for a laceration and swelling to the face. The defendant fled and was identified after being captured on multiple surveillance cameras. He turned himself in to police on January 11, 2022.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sharmalee Brooks-Gordon, of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Ari Farkas, Deputy Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Bureau Chief.