A New York man charged with assaulting the head of the Brooklyn Jewish Y at a borough arena has been hit with a hate crimes charge.
The new charge against Shawn Schraeder, 25, of Queens, on Thursday followed eight months of investigation by a grand jury, CBS New York reported. Schraeder had been charged with assault following the incident at the Barclays Center amid sparring between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel fans.
He is accused of punching Leonard Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay Y, following an exhibition basketball game last October between the Brooklyn Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Fans verbally sparred inside the arena as the game was ending. Pro-Palestinian protesters began shouting anti-Israel slogans, Petlakh told JTA at the time of the incident, and a pro-Israel fan grabbed a Palestinian flag from one of them.
As the crowds spilled out of the arena and onto the street, he said, one of the protesters took a swing at Petlakh, who was with his 14- and 10-year-old sons. Petlakh’s nose was broken and he required eight stitches. The pro-Palestinian demonstrators reportedly chanted “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers” during the alleged assault.