Today’s news:

Hate charges drops, but group of Jewish teens still face heavy jail time

Hate crime charges have been dropped against the five Jewish teens arrested for attacking a Pakistani man outside a Midwood Dunkin’ Donuts late last year. Despite allegations that the five teens called 24-year-old Amber Shahid a terrorist and demanded that he leave the country, hate crime charges on which they were initially arrested were mysteriously absent when a criminal indictment was handed down on February 1. In their initial report, police allege that 17-year-old Yossi Friedman of the 1200 block of East 26th Street, 16-year-olds Shulomi Bitton of the 800 block of East 9th Street and Benjamin Wasserman of the 5100 block of 15th Avenue, along with two unnamed 15-year-olds approached Shahid as he ate an ice cream cone outside the Dunkin’ Donuts at 1524 Avenue M and began shouting at him, calling him a “terrorist motherf—ker.” “You f—ked our country,” they allegedly screamed. “Why are you here?” The suspects allegedly yelled, “Go back to your country” before lunging at the 24-year-old, striking him repeatedly in the face and about the body, officials said. According to the indictment, one of the teens knocked the ice cream out of Shahid’s hand and spit in his face. Prosecutors allege that the teens kicked, punched and threw him against a brick wall. Through it all, one of the teens held him from behind so he could not fight back, the indictment states, adding that another teen was armed with brass knuckles. The attack left Shahid with a black eye, swollen face and bruises peppering his entire torso, police said. The indictment charges the five teens with gang assault in the second degree and menacing in the third degree. If convicted, Friedman, Bitton and Wasserman could each face up to 15 years in jail. The cases against the two 15-year-olds will be tried in family court. While prosecutors said that the evidence did not warrant a hate crime charge, which would have meant additional prison time if the teens were convicted, they did say that “more charges are possible.” Last year’s attack, however, hasn’t seemed to infuriate anyone in Brooklyn’s Arabic communities. When word first spread about the attack, Muslim leaders urged calm, requesting that the “D.A.’s office do their jobs.” At the time of the attack, those supporting the teens said that Shahid had allegedly started the fight by pushing one of them as he left the coffee shop.

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