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New York Man Arrested After Anti-Semitic Rant, Threats Against Jewish Family In Costco Caught On Film

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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:

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.”

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.”

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.”

Hopefully Pichizaca will receive consequences congruent to the actions that made the Rabbi, his family and the unnamed second victim unsafe.

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Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.