Shawn Schraeder, left; Leonard Petlakh, right.

Suspect Arrested in Attack on Jewish Communal Exec at Basketball Protest

The man suspected of punching a Jewish communal leader in Brooklyn has been arrested.

Shawn Schraeder, 25, was taken into custody in St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday. He was brought back to Brooklyn, where he is now awaiting arraignment. He is not being charged with a hate crime as police do not believe bias was a motive, ABC reported.

Leonard Petlakh, the 42-year-old executive director of the Kings Bay Y, was attacked by a pro-Palestinian protester as he left a Nets basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 7.

Several pro-Palestinian groups picketed the game against Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv because it was a fundraiser for the Israel Defense Forces.

Petlakh said that as he left the arena with his sons, aged 10 and 14, his way was blocked by protesters yelling “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers.”

That was when one of the protesters punched him, resulting in a broken nose and a nasty cut above his eye. The cut required eight stitches.

“I am thrilled that the New York Police department has taken this very seriously,” Petlakh said. “I relish the day that we will see these hatemongers in our courtroom.”

“They absolutely have a constitutional right to express their hatred but once they cross the red line that’s where it ends,” he added.

New York State Assemplyman Steven Cymbrowitz criticized the decision to not charge the suspect with a hate crime.

“I find it disturbing that they do not plan to charge him with a bias crime,” Cymbrowitz said in a statement. “Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision. I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.”

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Paul Berger

Paul Berger

Paul Berger has been a staff writer at the Forward since 2011, covering crime and healthcare issues, such as sex abuse, circumcision, and fraud. He is a fluent Russian speaker and has reported from Russia and Ukraine. He also likes digging into historicalmysteries.

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Suspect Arrested in Attack on Jewish Communal Exec at Basketball Protest

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