LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Police Department investigators are working to determine whether an attack on diners in the Beverly Grove neighborhood was a hate crime. The violent incident was caught on camera.
The horrific altercation was reported on the night of May 17 around 10 p.m. outside the Sushi Fumi restaurant in the 300 block of North La Cienega Boulevard.
Witnesses who sent FOX 11 the video said it was a peaceful night until a group of people, possibly pro-Palestinian supporters, drove past the restaurant in a caravan multiple times and yelled anti-Semitic slurs.
Later in the evening, one of the diners allegedly yelled something back at them. The suspects then got out of their car and a brawl ensued, causing paramedics to be called to the scene.
During the fight, bottles were thrown and pepper spray was used. Police eventually arrived and the crowd dispersed.
No arrests were made and no one was seriously injured in the fight.
The suspects were wearing all black clothing and investigators are working to identify them.
The heavily populated area has a large Jewish population, officials said. An Orthodox community is nearby and police said they are concerned about other harassment or threats against Jewish Americans in the area.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for global Jewish human rights organization, Simon Wiesenthal Center issued the following statement; "SWC Calls on Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to bolster the LAPD and pursue prosecutions against Palestinian thugs who attacked those Jewish diners as well as those who vandalized a kosher establishment in North Hollywood. We need the Mayor to lead because our community can’t expect any action from Los Angeles’ woke District Attorney."
A statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center read, "We have seen what has happened in Toronto, Montreal, UK, France and Germany; the anti-Semitic chants, the violence, even targeting of Jewish institutions. We need local leaders everywhere to step up and defend against any violence but also to establish lines of communication with other community leaders."
Councilman Paul Korez said the restaurant incident was one of two attacks directed at Jewish victims over the course of 24 hours.
"Last night, members of a caravan of pro-Palestinian protesters targeted innocent Jewish diners in a vicious attack while they were sitting outside a sushi restaurant, and a separate attempt was made by two drivers to run over a Jewish man who had to flee for his life. Both incidents were captured on video. These were anti-Semitic hate crimes that are unconscionable,'' Koretz said in a statement released late Wednesday morning.
"These violent acts will not go unchecked. We will do everything necessary to bring these criminals to justice and to restore order on our city streets. Late last night after being briefed at the Wilshire Division by LAPD, I visited the restaurant where the attack took place and met with a young man who witnessed the entire tragedy unfold,'' he said. "I committed to him that we will work diligently to deploy more resources to the region and bring justice for the victims who were brutally beaten. I intend to keep my promise to that young man and to our entire community. We will never allow for anyone to strike fear into our hearts because we are Jews. We are not going to allow the violence in the Middle East to spill out onto the streets of Los Angeles. Everyone is entitled to express their opinion but never through violence. Pro-Palestinian protesters cannot be allowed to viciously assault random people on the street because they happen to look or be Jewish,'' Koretz said.
Earlier Tuesday, a large crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli consulate in West Los Angeles. The rally was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement. Over the weekend, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in Westwood calling for an end to the violence.