Crown Heights
Crown HeightsSerge Attal/FLASH90

The New York Police department has arrested a suspect who they say is responsible for a vicious beat-down of a hassidic rabbi that rattled the Crown Heights Jewish community.

According to, James Vicent, 40, is presumed to be the man responsible for the assault. The Bronx native has over 40 previous arrested for offenses ranging from drug possession to hate crimes and has already confessed to beating up Rabbi Menachem Moscowitz. Vincent is charged with strangulation as a hate crime and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Vincent had allegedly beaten Rabbi Menachem Moscowitz last Saturday as he was walking home from prayer services. Moscowitz told that he said “good afternoon” to a man who was smoking a cigar on a street corner.

“As soon as [I greeted] him he began yelling at me ‘you fake Jews, who are you saying hello to? Your fake Jews and you stole all my money and robbed me, and stole my mortgage and my house. I want to kill you!’” the news website quoted the man as saying.

Moscowitz said he walked away from the man quickly but that the assailant caught up with him, put him in a chokehold, and threatened to kill him.

Two women eventually separated Moscowitz from the assailant and told him to run. He called the Jewish ambulance service Hatzalah from his home, which notified police. Moscowitz sustained a cracked rib along with swelling, bruising and scratches over his body.

The attack had rattled the Jewish Crown Heights community, which is dominated by the Chabad hassidic sect, as it was the second assault in the area in a week. Earlier, a Jewish man was assaulted in the same neighborhood as he was walking with another Chabad man late on a Friday night.