NEW YORK - A leader of protests against new coronavirus restrictions in several New York neighborhoods has been arraigned on several charges including inciting a riot.
Harold Tischler was taken into custody Sunday night and arraigned on Monday. He also faces unlawful imprisonment, menacing, and harassment charges. He was released awaiting his next hearing.
Prosecutors say he intentionally placed or attempted to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury related to an incident involving Orthodox Jewish journalist Jacob Kornbluh.
Tischler, a City Council candidate and a self-described activist in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, Brooklyn, said Friday on social media that he had agreed to turn himself in to police this week. He has since been charged after allegedly instigating the attack on Kornbluh.
"He's a liar. He's a rat," a protester told reporters after Tischler was taken into custody..
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been publicly pressuring Mayor Bill de Blasio to carry out the enforcement of laws during the coronavirus restrictions.
More than $150,000 in fines and 62 summonses were issued over the weekend including five at houses of worship.
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The majority of the areas facing lockdowns are home to large Orthodox Jewish populations, and religious leaders have complained of being singled out. The spike in cases coincided with the back-to-back Jewish holidays in late September.
Cuomo said Sunday that the so-called cluster areas contain 2.8% of the state’s population, yet have had 17.6% of all positive confirmed cases reported this past week.
The Democratic governor urged people living in those areas to abide by the restrictions even though the new rules ban large gatherings in synagogues.
“Under the Hebrew teachings, participation in a religious ceremony can be excused for matter of health and life and safety,” Cuomo said Sunday. “Leviticus, love your neighbors, yourself, and the point here is to save a life and not to endanger others, not to endanger others in the same congregation, not to endanger others in the same community, and that’s what is happening with these large congregations.”
With the Associated Press