A Queens man has been arrested and is facing charges after threatening a Jewish family in a Lawrence, NY Costco.
Justin Pichizaca, 20, will face charges of aggravated harassment and menacing after he shouted obscenities and anti-semitic phrases at Rabbi Avrumi Fri, his wife and his eleven year old son in the middle of the store.
Video can be seen here:
HATE IS ALIVE IN NY: This happened in the @Costco in Lawrence, NY when a Jewish man was verbally assaulted by a neo-Nazi threatening to pull out a gun, attack him. If you know this man, please contact the Nassau County Police Department. pic.twitter.com/NgiPTxQ4WH
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) December 8, 2019
Pichizaca also threatened to murder the Rabbi and his family, all while insinuating physical violence and lunging at the Rabbi twice on camera.
The Rabbi, in a lengthy Facebook post, covered the entirety of the incident in detail.
“I was in the Men’s Room in Costco when a man walked out of one of the stalls. He said, ‘[expletive] Jew, the Nazis will finish you off.’ I turned around to see who had said that. I quickly followed him out of the bathroom, taking out my phone to get him on video to share on Social Media, outing this bigot while demonstrating that there is this type of bigotry, even here at ‘home’ in the Five Towns.”
How can a non-white person be a neo-Nazi? Does he not know what the ultimate goal is?
— My name is not Megan (@bodegacat212) December 8, 2019
How do people get this ugly inside?? ☹️
— Nancy✍️⭐️⭐️ (@coopy1211) December 9, 2019
This guy is all confused about his identity
— Jess (@jdobleooh) December 9, 2019
Disgusting how an innocent man was threatened at #costco in Lawrence with violence and anti-Semitic rants and no one did anything to help. What’s going on in this world?
— Kosher Guru™️ (@thekosherguru) December 8, 2019
Rabbi Fri continued:
“As you saw in the video, at first he tried to deny it. I pressed him by saying, ‘say it to my face.’ To indicate that I had no desire to get physical, I kept my left hand down at my side while holding up the phone with my right hand.”
“After a few times of my telling him to ‘say it to my face,’ he went on the rant you saw in the video. In the video you will notice there is a Hispanic woman in black clothing at the counter, I found out later that she is his mother.”
“Behind me were a number of people standing in line, white and African-American. No reaction from anyone, other than one elderly African-American gentleman who was shaking his head in disgust.”
“During the rant, you can see that he threatens me with physical harm and lunged at me twice. I just moved back at each attempt, as I was not interested in a physical altercation.”
The Rabbi goes on to say that the police were initially incredibly unhelpful.
“After calling the police to file a report and share the video, a rather pleasant police officer arrived. I showed him the video and shared all the above.”
“He said that there isn’t much he can do. I responded, ‘he clearly threatened physical harm, and besides, a lawyer friend told me this constitutes a hate crime. I’d like to file a report’.”
“I could not believe what he told me next. ‘Once you followed him out of the bathroom, you became the aggressor.’ Right then another officer showed up. The first officer told me to repeat the story to the second officer, which I proceeded to do. The second officer said, ‘what you did wasn’t so smart. Clearly this guy is mentally ill and you were provoking him’.”
“He then went on to theorize to the first officer what medication he may be on (risperidone being his number one choice). The first officer then told me he would pass it on at the squad and maybe a detective would take on the case.”
— (((SteveGoldstein))) (@slg10194) December 10, 2019
There needs to be criminal justice reform that allows punks like this to get punched in the mouth. #consequences
— JC (@JC3rdegree) December 10, 2019
Facebook also took down the video initially.
“In the past six hours or so there were 5k views, with hundreds of shares, comments and reactions. At about 10:15pm I received a notice from Facebook that they removed the post for violating their ‘Community Standards’.”
Thankfully once the case was brought to the precinct, detectives took it seriously.
“The officer gave it to the detectives. They called me down to the station. They apologized profusely for what was told to me and are writing a report now. Additionally, the second male who was accosted by the perp reached out to me and called the precinct.”
This guy was only arrested because the guy had the presence of mind to record and then it went viral. Would be nice if LE took anti-semitism seriously without it. https://t.co/pX0btPT9iN
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) December 10, 2019
Yet Donald Trump did the same on the same day and walked away free….. again.
— Growth Inoculum (@cousin_boogies) December 10, 2019
Here is one from Long Island. https://t.co/gyhZDOVhYH Thanks to the international cabal of racist nationalists operating on the world stage, the most loathsome among us are emboldened and encouraged. #ImpeachTrump #BringBackTheDeathPenaltyForTreason #FlushTheTurdNovemberThird
— Gabrielle Brady 🆘 (@GabiHammerBrady) December 10, 2019
Hopefully Pichizaca will receive consequences congruent to the actions that made the Rabbi, his family and the unnamed second victim unsafe.