Knockout Attack "Victim" Admits He May Have Just Tripped; Threatens to Sue Anyway
On Tuesday reports of another sudden, unprovoked attack surfaced in Brooklyn. This time the victim was a 65-year-old Hasidic grandfather from London, visiting New York for a wedding. The man was leaving the reception at Borough Park's Palace Ballroom around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning when, he would later tell police, he was attacked from behind and sent flying to the ground, face first.
He suffered a bloody lip and chipped tooth, according to the Post. Almost immediately Brooklyn City Council Member David Greenfield voiced his concern that this could be another in a series of "knockout" attacks that have plagued Brooklyn's Jewish communities in recent months.
"He was attacked from behind by two individuals -- brutally attacked," Greenfield told CBS on Tuesday. "They did not take anything from him, and he was in such bad condition that he had to be hospitalized."
Greenfield went on: "I think that this should concern all of us. Right? I mean, this is a tourist--someone who came to visit the United States to celebrate his family at a wedding and I think that the potential of sending a message internationally that we have these kinds of attacks taking place in New York City should certainly concern all of us."
As Greenfield predicted, news of the attack did reverberate internationally: on Wednesday, the story was picked up by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The story repeats Greenfield's quote, given to CBS, that the tourist was "brutally attacked" by two assailants, and notes that in November the NYPD investigated a "wave of suspected 'knockout' attacks against Jews in Brooklyn." (The story doesn't mention that after its investigation the NYPD concluded there was not a "knockout" trend.)
See also: There is No "Knockout" Trend, NYPD Says
The story grew more complicated late Wednesday, when Jewish Political News and Updates, the website that initially reported the attack, reported that the NYPD was now saying the tourist had recanted. "The victim may just have fallen and banged his face in the concrete pavement."
An NYPD spokesman confirmed that the man changed his story when confronted by footage of the incident. "Video surveillance of the incident showed that he tripped," Detective Brian Sessa told to the Voice. "He recanted after he was shown the video surveillance."
On Thursday, though, Greenfield doubled down on the tourist's harrowing tale. The man was definitely attacked by two assailants, he tweeted, he just may not have given the police the correct description.
On phone now w. victim of possible knockout attack who is back in London. He firmly believes he was assaulted by 2 individuals. (1 of 2)— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) March 27, 2014
The victim explained he was unsure about the description he gave of the attackers and he told the police THAT info may not be correct. 2/2— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) March 27, 2014
Too much information for Twitter. Will discuss possible knockout victim at length on my live radio show at 7PM. 620AM on the radio dial.— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) March 27, 2014
On the radio Thursday evening, Greenfield read a statement from the tourist.
I was returning from a wedding at about 2 a.m. on Monday night and am convinced that I was attacked from the back and pushed to the floor face down. However, after extensive interrogations by the police, I recognize that there is a possibility that due to the shock of the incident and my injuries I was confused and disoriented and it may be that I tripped in the dark and hurt my face when falling down.
The man went on to threaten a lawsuit against CBS for their reporting of the incident:
I am distraught by the statement which was publicized by CBS today suggesting that I was lying. This is a libelous statement which damages both my own and my family's reputation, and I have already informed CBS that I intend to sue them for defamation unless I am convinced that my name is restored, which CBS assured me would be the case.
We've reached out to CBS for comment. In the meantime we will note that the only CBS news item the Voice has been able to locate about the incident in question is this one, which neither mentions the man's name, nor suggests he lied about the attack.
The tourist continued:
As for the police, the detective assured me that his report doesn't suggest anything other than that I was absolutely truthful and helpful in their investigation.
Speaking for himself, Greenfield backed away from the substance of his statement on Tuesday that the man was "brutally attacked" from behind by two assailants. However the man sustained his injuries, though, Greenfield maintained, there was no disputing the fact that he definitely sustained injuries. So.
"While it's not clear exactly what occurred on Tuesday morning, two things are clear: this individual suffered serious injuries in the incident, and the NYPD fully believes that he has been truthful with them. The victim in no way lied or attempted to mislead the NYPD," Greenfield said. "I have confirmed that information directly with the supervising officer investigating this case I have every confidence that the NYPD will continue to diligently investigate this case and trust that they will reach the appropriate conclusion."
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