Hate Crime Charges Dropped Against Yitzchak Shuchat
Yitzchak Shuchat, a Jewish man who was accused of assaulting an African-American man in Crown Heights back in 2008, has plead guilty to assault. As part of a plea deal, all racial bias charges against him have been dropped.
The fateful encounter took place on the corner of Albany Avenue and Carroll Street, when Shuchat, then 28-years-old, encountered Andrew Charles, then 20-years-old, and accused him of throwing rocks at people. During the encounter, Charles alleged that Shuchat beat him with a baton and sprayed him with mace.
Following the encounter, Shuchat, who was a member of the Shmira volunteer patrol, fled to Canada and then to Israel, where he remained until he was extradited by Israeli authorities to face charges of racially-motivated assault in the U.S.
The incident took on strong racial overtones when prosecutors charged that Shuchat confronted Andrew Charles, the son of an NYPD officer, because he was black. The incident further escalated tensions between the Jewish and black communities in Crown Heights, with representatives from Al Sharpton’s National Action Network calling for marches in the streets of Crown Heights.
One year after the incident, then-district attorney Charles Hynes added the charge of assault as a hate crime after convening a grand jury.
As part of a plea bargain, the DA’s office on Friday dropped all bias charges against Shuchat, who in turn plead guilty to assault in the second degree, and was sentenced to one day in jail and 25 days of community service.
“Today’s guilty plea is an appropriate disposition of this matter, because the facts of the case simply did not support a hate crime and there were no serious injuries,” said Brooklyn’s current District Attorney Ken Thompson.