The first-ever female hasidic justice in the United States set a high bail for 37-year-old cab driver Farrukh Afzal for attacking an observant Jew earlier this week in Brooklyn.
Judge Ruchie Freier ordered the that Afzal pay a $15,000 bail to be freed. Afzal faces charges of assault, criminal mischief, harassment, and a hate crime.
He was unable to raise the necessary funds and remained in jail.
Afzal reportedly attacked the victim, identified as Rabbi Lipa Schwartz, 62, because he thought he was an Orthodox Jewish man who had stepped in front of his car earlier in the day. Video footage shows Afzal pulling Schwartz into the street and savagely beating him.
Afzal was arrested soon after the assault. After his identity was published, he was fired from his job at Church Avenue Car Service.
During the assault, Afzal reportedly yelled "Allah, Allah" while he dragged Schwartz.
“He came out from the car. I couldn’t explain to you how angry he was. He was screaming the whole time,” Schwartz recounted to CBS2.
“All of a sudden… boof, boof, boof, boof!”, Schwartz continued. "So I start to fight back because it’s either death or life.”
Following the attack, Schwartz was evacuated to Maimonides Medical Center and was treated for minor injuries.
Yiddish-speaking Freier is the first female hasidic judge in the US and was first appointed to the bench in 2016 . She began studying law at age 30 after realizing she was working for lawyers younger than herself.
She has 30 years of experience in law, as well as certification as a paramedic. In addition, Freier serves on the board of the NYC Regional Emergency Medical Services Council (REMSCO) and has founded several charity organizations.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Afzal was ordered released on bail. He was not released. We apologize for the error.