The private security patrol run by members of Williamsburg’s Hasidic population has been accused of breaking laws and targeting minorities. An article in the Daily News finds instances of the forces using counterfeit parking placards, flashing lights in colors reserved only for emergency vehicles, and harassing and abusing minorities with whom it shares the neighborhood—”a mix of blacks, whites, Latinos, Hasidim and hipsters,” the paper reports. (Hipsters are their own race!)
In 2009, a member of the patrols, Yakov Horowitz, accused a Latino adolescent of stealing a bike and struck him in the nose with a walkie-talkie on Wythe; Horowitz was charged with assault, convicted of disorderly conduct, and paid a fine.
“Jewish residents said they’re surrounded by crime-filled public housing projects and need more eyes on the streets,” the paper reports; last week, a dispute over a parking space on Bedford ended with Dwight Chaparro, 29, hitting Rabbi Mordechai Stern, 57, in the head with a wooden shelf. Chaparro was detained by members of the Hasidic security patrol, Shomrim, and alleges they beat him up.
The patrols, which do not carry guns, pretend to be police, some witnesses have said. While the force says they sometimes flash orange-and-yellow lights “for caution,” the News offers evidence to the contrary.
Residents say they often see speeding unmarked cars driven by members of Jewish patrols. Some of the vehicles have flashing red and blue lights.
A Daily News reporter recently spotted a mechanic on Kent Ave. installing a red-and-blue back-light package on a black, unmarked Toyota Camry. The mechanic said the car, which had bogus parking placards in the windshield, belonged to a Williamsburg Shomrim patrol member.
“It’s not illegal for me to install them – only for them to use them on the street,” the mechanic said.
Crownheights.info, a Jewish news source, re-posted the story in full (copyright infringement?) with a new headline: “Daily News Does Hit-Job on Williamsburg Shomrim”.