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Things got scary in Mill Basin on Saturday night when Simchon Schwartz, a 46-year-old hasidic man, harassed and then attacked his newlywed Turkish neighbors. Witnesses reported that Schwartz grabbed Selda Turan, 27, and shoved her against her car while screaming, “Fucking Arabs! Fucking terrorists!” He proceeded to open a can of beer and pour it on her head. When her husband, Mustafa Turan, ran to her defense, Schwartz hit him in the face. Schwartz then hid in a local synagogue and attempted to fight off the police when they arrived to arrest him.
After punching Mustafa Turan, Schwartz is believed to have keyed the Turans’ car. When the cops finally apprehended him, he complained that his cuffs were too tight and kicked out a window in the backseat of the squad car. Schwartz now faces charges of felony assault and felony criminal mischief as hate crimes. He also is accused of resisting arrest, obstructing cops, menacing and harassment. If found guilty, he’s looking at a sentence of up to fifteen years.
Witnesses have suggested that Schwartz’s attack was unprovoked, but his attorney, Lance Lazzaro, insists that the police, “arrested the wrong person.” According to Lazzaro, Schwartz was attacked by Mustafa Turan, 32, who he claims called Schwartz a “dirty Jew.” While police found no physical evidence supporting Schwartz’s story, Mustafa Turan required three stitches after the blow from Schwartz.
Schwartz was released without bail on Sunday and returned to his townhouse which shares a wall with the Turans home. While the judge granted the Turans an order of protection preventing Schwartz from contacting them, things are going to be tense for a while — sources report that Esther Schwartz, Simchon’s wife, told the Turans, “This is a majority Jewish neighborhood. We’re going to get you back,” and over the weekend, she gathered 20 signatures on a petition calling for the Turkish family’s eviction. Their landlords, Rusden and Saadet Dolan, rejected the petition.