Brooklyn officials are speaking out after a college student claims he was targeted in a hate crime.
Taj Patterson, 22, says he was walking home by himself shortly before 5 a.m. on December 1 when a group of men dressed like Orthodox Jews attacked and beat him at the corner of Flushing Avenue and Spencer Street in Williamsburg.
The men also allegedly yelled out homophobic slurs during their attack.
Patterson suffered a torn retina along with cuts and bruises to his face.
"We cannot have these attacks, just like we can't have people being punched in the back of the head in Crown Heights or in East New York, because these attacks are actually an attack on the rule of law, an attack on all of us," said Brooklyn District Attorney-elect Kenneth Thompson.
"I have a message to anybody who perpetrates violence in our community: The fabric of the community is stronger. It is stronger than that effort to tear it," said City Councilman Stephen Levin.
The New York City Police Department's hate crimes task force is looking into the attack.