Three black men arrested for hate crime after allegedly attacking Hasidic Jewish mother and son with gel pellets


BROOKLYN, NY – Three people were arrested and charged with a hate crime in Brooklyn, New York, after allegedly shooting a Hasidic Jewish mother and son with gel pellets. Two of the suspects were given supervised release while one was held on bond.

The shooting incident was reported on November 8th when a mother and son, both Hasidic Jews, were shot and injured with gel pellets. Officers identified and arrested three people and charged them with hate crimes.

Two of the suspects, Zakaria Moataz and Dorian Watt, were granted supervised release after their arrest. Both of the suspects walked out of the courtroom while having their faces covered in hopes of preventing cameras from taking photographs of them.

The third suspect, 38-year-old Jacob Hernandez, was assigned a $7,500 bail and remanded into custody after the judge’s ruling. Hernandez, who was being led out of the courtroom by deputies, begged Judge Dale Fong-Frederick to go easy on him, saying that he did not have “hate for anyone.” He said:

“I have nothing against anybody. I don’t have hate for anyone.”

Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Ari Rottenberg had requested the judge assign a $7,500 bail to Hernandez seemingly because of his criminal history. ADA Rottenberg reported he had been arrested for both felony and misdemeanor charges. Those charges, aggravated harassment, and burglary, along with his three prior failure to appear charges, are most likely the reason why he was given bail.

One of the people who were released pending their next court date, Watt, did not speak with the media after he was released, however, his father believes the charges against his son are made up. The father told the New York Post that his son did nothing wrong and is a “good kid.” He said:

“I’m curious about what happened. They don’t have pictures of anybody. All they’re trying to do is to have every black kid on the block have a bad record. I’ve been through it all my life.

“I don’t believe none of that. I work for Jewish people for a long time. I have a lot of Jewish friends, and my son has been around me all my life. I don’t have a problem with anyone. We don’t discriminate against people…I raised my son better.”

While Watt’s father may have raised him “better” than to target and shoot people with any object may be correct, that does not mean that his son did not resort to such an act, especially when a weapon believed to have been used to fire the gel balls at the Jewish mother and son was allegedly located in the vehicle with he and the other two charged in the crime.

Not to mention, Watt allegedly admitted to police that he had fired the weapon before…just not…of course…the night in question.

Anthony Baratta, Moataz’s attorney, spoke for his client during the arraignment and requested the judge release him with a court date. The best reasoning he had to offer the judge was that he had a job and still lived at home with his parents and siblings.

The three men were arrested and charged after the Jewish mother and son, who were wearing traditional Hasidic Jewish clothing, reported the incident to the NYPD.

The victims told police that they had been walking down the street when they noticed a white Infinity pull alongside them which is when the pair began to feel pain after being struck several times on the shoulder and back. ADA Rottenberg reported:

“The [victims] were walking on a public street, the defendants were in a vehicle. Hernandez was in the driver’s seat, Watt was in the front passenger seat, and Moataz was in the rear. [As the mother and son were] walking on the street, [they] heard a noise and felt multiple unknown objects strike them about the shoulder and back.

“[One of the victims in the case] looked up and observed a white Infinity. It had custom rims, custom grills, black rooftop, and there was a blue light emanating from the vehicle.”

NYPD officers searched the area and located a vehicle in the area that matched the description provided by the two victims.

When officers stopped the vehicle, they came into contact with the three suspects and located a gel blaster inside the car which had a blue light which was emanating from it.

The officers reported finding “several” of the gel rounds still inside the chamber.

When police attempted to interview Hernandez he refused to talk, however, Moataz allegedly reported that the trio was driving around the area while smoking marijuana. Moataz allegedly claimed that the group was looking for a spot to park and smoke.

None of the three arrested admitted to shooting the Jewish mother and son.


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