Far Rockaway man accused of hate crimes in antisemitic attack: DA

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A Far Rockaway man was charged with assault as a hate crime for allegedly attacking a Jewish man on Beach Channel Drive in broad daylight Tuesday morning, Sept. 13, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

James Purcell, 34, of Ocean Crest Boulevard, was arraigned Sept. 15 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jessica Earle-Gargan on a six-count criminal complaint charging him with assault as a hate crime, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, aggravated harassment and other crimes.

According to the charges, at around 11:40 a,m, on Sept. 13, Purcell approached a 58-year-old man as he was walking near the intersection of Beach 25th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Purcell, who is also known as James Porcell, allegedly began to shout antisemitic remarks, stating, “Shut up Jew, I’ll make you shut up.”

Katz said Purcell then allegedly punched the victim in the face and continued to assault him with his fists while shouting more hateful remarks. Officers from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway responded to the scene and attempted to take Purcell into custody after the victim pointed him out on the street. Once he was apprehended, he allegedly flailed his arms and twisted his body in an attempt to avoid being placed under arrest.

“This defendant is accused of assaulting an individual of the Jewish faith while making antisemitic statements,” Katz said. “We will not tolerate assault motivated by hate in the most diverse county in the world. These acts are offenses against our shared values and our shared right to safety and peace in our neighborhoods. This defendant is charged appropriately and will be held to account.”

The District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Purcell faces up to four years in prison.