NEW YORK - Rep. Ritchie Torres reacted to surveillance camera video showing some people brutally beating a 21-year-old Orthodox Jewish man while he was walking on Gerry Street near South Williamsburg last Friday night.
"New York City is ground zero for a national trend, for a national surge in violent anti-Semitism," Torres told Fox 5 News by telephone.
There were no prior words or provocation, police said.
The Anti-Defamation League is now offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrests and convictions of the suspects.
"Just like any hate crime, it doesn't just impact the victim. It impacts anybody who's a part of that group who worries, 'Am I next? Am I going to be the next victim of an assault on the streets in Brooklyn?'" ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director Scott Richman said.
According to the NYPD, anti-Jewish hate crimes in the city have nearly quadrupled in the past year. The year-to-date numbers through April 3 show 24 reported anti-Semitic hate crimes last year, compared to 86 this year.
Torres has been an outspoken advocate, repeatedly condemning Jewish hate.
"I think those of us in elected office remain silent and we become complicit. We become part of the problem rather than part of the solution," Torres said. "So I feel an obligation to break my silence whenever I see anti-Semitism rear its ugly head."
EMS responded quickly to the scene on Friday night. Fortunately, the victim only sustained minor injuries but that doesn't mitigate the fear felt by so many members of the Jewish community.
This is the congressman's message to the suspects:
"If you perpetrate a crime against anyone, anywhere in New York City, you will be held accountable," Torres said. "You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
A 16-year-old has been charged with gang and hate crime assault in Friday's incident. Officials are still searching for the other suspects.
The NYPD is also offering a reward of up to $3,500 in the case. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS if you know anything. You can remain anonymous.