May 11, 2020
Couple Arrested For Committing Hate Crime, Allegedly Blame Jewish People For Coronavirus Pandemic

A couple from Queens, New York, has been arrested for reportedly committing a hate crime against three Hasidic Jewish men in Brooklyn, Williamsburg. According to ABC News, Paulo and Clelia Pinho allegedly called the men anti-Semitic slurs, blamed Jewish people for spreading the coronavirus, and tried to remove their face-coverings forcefully.

Police reported that the couple had been in on the corner of Ross Street and Bedford Avenue on Sunday night when Paulo dialed 911 to report a large gathering. It was shortly after that when an altercation occurred between the couple and the three men.

The suspects supposedly told the trio, "you're the reason why we're getting sick."

A struggle broke out between the groups, and they were separated by the Shomrim patrol, a volunteer watch group who detained the couple until the authorities arrived. Both Paulo and Clelia were treated for minor injuries obtained during the scuffle, but the victims opted not to seek medical treatment.

Additional reporting by WLNY-TV claims the incident resulted in one of the Jewish men getting punched in the face and then either Paulo or Clelia supposedly managed to remove his facial covering.

WLNY-TV also writes that there have been "248 reports of harassment and discrimination tied to the outbreak since February."

"We don't accept bias in New York City. Any act of hate crime, we pursue it," said Mayor Bill DeBlasio during a Monday morning brief.

The article says that as of this morning, the couple had not yet been arraigned, and details about their attorney are not available.

WNBC shared a video from social media that was reportedly filmed during the aftermath of the attack. The short clip showed several police cars with their lights on and a large group of onlookers in the area.

"Videos posted to social media late Sunday by 'Williamsburg News' and 'The Belaaz,' an NYC-based Jewish media outlet, showed large police response and gathered crowds," says the outlet.

WNBC also shared additional words from DeBlasio's statement, quoting him as saying, "Whether it is this horrible anti-Semitic act that we saw or the horrible anti-Asian acts we saw in previous weeks, none of these acts of bias or discrimination are acceptable in New York City."

The mayor said that the Pinhos were taken to jail to be charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime.

On social media, many users appeared horrified by the news. Several people requested that the couple be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Hasidic children walk outside of a special coronavirus intake area
Getty Images | Spencer Platt