Brooklyn Woman Charged with Federal Hate Crimes for Anti-Semitic Attacks During Hanukkah
Defendant Allegedly Assaulted Three Orthodox Jewish Women in Crown Heights
A criminal complaint was unsealed yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn charging Tiffany Harris with committing three separate anti-Semitic attacks against Orthodox Jewish women while they were walking on public streets in Brooklyn, New York, during Hanukkah. Harris will make her initial appearance at a later date.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
As set forth in the complaint, the first attack occurred on December 27, 2020, at approximately 12:40 a.m., at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights. Harris approached a woman who was walking alone and, without warning, slapped her in the face with an open hand. Five minutes later at the corner of President Street and Kingston Avenue, Harris approached a woman who was walking with a group of people – two of whom were visibly Orthodox Jewish – and slapped the victim in the back of her head with an open hand while stating, “F—k the Jews.” Several minutes later at the same intersection, Harris approached a third victim who was walking alongside another visibly Orthodox Jewish woman, and slapped her in the face with an open hand. Harris was arrested by NYPD officers near the scene of the assaults, and was positively identified by the three victims.
“As alleged in the criminal complaint, the defendant attacked three women solely because they were Jewish, striking not only at the innocent victims, but also at our country’s founding principles of tolerance and respect for civil rights,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The use of violence, or the threats of violence, against anyone based on the victim’s religion will not be tolerated, and those who engage in such conduct will learn that under federal law there are serious consequences for hate crimes.” Mr. Donoghue commended the NYPD officers who quickly responded and apprehended the defendant.
“Any offensive physical assault is a crime of violence, and it should be obvious that perpetrators need to be held accountable,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “When one’s actions are motivated by their hatred of another group and supported by anti-Semitic sentiments, however, it opens up the possibility of federal criminal charges, which are hard to walk away from. Tiffany Harris now faces up to 10 years in prison for her alleged actions. The lesson to others thinking of behaving as we allege Ms. Harris did—knock it off now or we are going to lock you up. The anti-Semitic attacks in this city and elsewhere have been outrageous, and the FBI will use the full extent of the laws at our disposal to protect the community.”
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorney Gillian Kassner is in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-MJ-10