Arrest made in antisemitic attack at preschool
By Lisa Brody
As parents were dropping off their children for preschool on Friday, December 2, at Temple Beth El, 7400 Telegraph Road at 14 Mile, several were verbally accosted by a man in a vehicle yelling antisemitic slurs at them and their children, and following an investigation, Bloomfield Township police arrested him on two felony charges of ethnic intimidation on Sunday, December 4.
According to a release sent by Bloomfield Township Police Officer Nick Soley, “A male subject was observed in the parking lot of the preschool arguing about the support of Israel. Security at the Temple Beth El was immediately alerted and responded, as did the Bloomfield Township Police Department. As the subject exited the temple’s parking lot, Bloomfield Township Police Department initiated a traffic stop on the subject and identified him. The subject was released from the scene pending further investigation and was advised not to return to the Temple Beth El.”
Soley stated on Sunday, “Our officers accomplished the goal of identifying the subject while using de-escalation techniques to diffuse the subject. We are unable to comment on specific investigative techniques, but we were able to assess that subsequent to the traffic stop the subject would not be an imminent threat to the community. Following the traffic stop, the Bloomfield Township Police Department worked around the clock in cooperation with local and regional partners to continue the investigation. Based on evidence that was discovered along with additional information provided by the Dearborn Police Department, the subject was taken into custody on a separate incident, and a search warrant executed on his residence.”
According to numerous posts on social media that were rapidly reposted, “While Jewish parents were dropping their kids off at Temple Beth El day care in Bloomfield Hills, MI, earlier this morning, a man in the white van outrageously screams 'F**k the Jews' and 'F**k Israel' while driving by.”
Late on Saturday, December 3, postings on Facebook reposted a live posting on Instragram by the purported subject, @freedomfighterhassan, who videoed his stop by police, said, “They have nothing on me. I was exercising my free rights, my freedom of press, freedom of religion. I was just asking them if they supported the state of Israel, and they said, 'yeah,' and I said, 'How dare you.'”
In the video, he told the officer he asked parents how could they support “a state of apartheid. I proved my point and I left. I didn't do anything. They pointed their guns at me (security officers) two n****er bitches.”
The suspect argued with the police officer to not give him his license. The officer told him he had run his plate and knew who he was.
He said he was “Hassan Chokr, freedom fighter.” He continued to refuse to provide his identification. He said he was then headed to another synagogue.
“We're fighting the good fight. We're trying to let everyone know who we're fighting,” Chokr said.
He complained that he was “being harassed by the Dearborn police,” and had been told to hire a “Jewish lawyer.”
Police tried to deescalate the situation.
Chokr was told by police not to return to the temple.
Following the episode, other rabbis and synagogues posted their support of Temple Beth El and the situation.
On Sunday afternoon, Soley said, “Based on evidence that was discovered several hours after the initial stop of the subject, the findings of the Bloomfield Township Police Department were presented to the Oakland County Prosecutor, who this morning issued a warrant for two felony counts of ethnic intimidation. The Bloomfield Township Police Department took the subject into custody and he is currently lodged at the Oakland County Jail.”
Soley said the Bloomfield Township Police Department “stands with the Jewish community in deploring this incident and behavior, and in any such situation we will seek to hold anyone accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”