Teens charged with hate crimes after objects thrown at Orthodox community in Ramapo

·2 min read

RAMAPO - Four people have been charged with hate crimes in the wake of weekend incidents in which four members of the Orthodox community were struck or nearly struck by objects apparently thrown from a passing vehicle in Ramapo.

Town of Ramapo police initially said the attacks occurred in Kaser, along Route 306 and Maple Avenue, but later said they took place in the town's Monsey hamlet. They were reported to police on Sunday.

According to police, a man was struck by what might have been a pellet or a BB. A woman who was pushing a stroller had an egg thrown at her but it did not hit her. Then, two females were walking together when one was struck by something in the shoulder from behind.

No serious physical injuries were reported.

Police said an investigation led to identifying the suspects and the vehicle.

Police identified the suspects as a 19-year-old of Valley Cottage resident, 19-year-old of Tomkins Cove, an 18-year-old who is eligible for youthful offender status, and a 17-year-old who qualifies for juvenile status.

They were charged with attempted second-degree assault as a hate crime, a felony; and second-degree reckless endangerment as a hate crime, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fifth- and sixth-degree conspiracy, second-degree aggravated harassment, and endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors.

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The two 19-year-olds and the 18-year-old were arraigned before Ramapo Town Justice Rhoda Schoenberger. The Valley Cottage resident was sent to Rockland County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail, while the Tomkins Cove resident was released on $2,000 bail and the 18-year-old was released on $10,000 bail. The 17-year-old was released to a parent pending an appearance in Family Court Youth Division.

Rockland County Legislator Philip Soskin thanked law enforcement officials and others who worked swiftly to identify those allegedly responsible for the attacks.

"Every time an attack like this occurs, we condemn it and hope there will not be a repeat incident," Soskin said in a statement. "Yet here we are again, with the arrests of people who allegedly threw eggs or objects or even shot a BB gun at passersby, all of whom happen to be – and to look like – Orthodox Jews. It is wrong and it is unacceptable."

State Assemblyman Mike Lawler of Pearl River also issued a statement, in which he noted, "This is, regrettably, the second incident in as many months."

"We must all denounce anti-Semitism wherever we encounter it and work towards building a more perfect and equal country and county," Lawler added in his statement.

Mike Randall covers breaking news in the Hudson Valley. Reach him at mrandall@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Ramapo police arrest teens on hate crime charges in Orthodox attacks