Authorities arrested a Florida man Wednesday for reportedly spitting on and verbally threatening several Orthodox Jews as they left from their temple services in Bal Harbour, police say.
Daniel Valerivich Starikov, 33, reportedly shouted, “I’ll show you,” while clenching his fist, to a group of Orthodox Jews as they walked past him while he was out jogging on March 22.
“I’m going to shove my d–k down your throats. You Jews, I’m gonna get you,” he continued, according to a police report of the incident.
Several minutes later, Starikov reportedly approached another group of Orthodox Jews and proceeded to spit on them after making a strange noise that sounded like “blowing a raspberry,” the police report says.
Many of the men in both groups were wearing yarmulkes and told police that they felt targeted by Starikov because of their religion.
Security cameras enabled authorities to positively identify Starikov as the perpetrator of the harassment. He is now being held without bond in a Miami jail, the New York Post reported. He is charged with battery on people 65 years or older as well as assault while evidencing prejudice, according to the Post. (RELATED: Hamas, Israel Agree To Second Ceasefire In 10 Days)
‘You Jews, I’m gonna get you:’ Jogger arrested after spitting on elderly Jewish couple https://t.co/546rAqYZJI
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) May 16, 2019
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said her office is considering whether Starikov’s actions warrant charging him with a hate crime.
“[It’s] such a sad thing when people are people are in any way attacked because of who they are,” she told WSVN.
“When they see these kinds of cases, we’re very aggressive about doing what we can to ascertain if it is a hate crime, and if it is a hate crime, it means it’s an enhancement of punishment,” she continued.
Starikov’s mother claims that her son’s behavior likely stemmed from his alcoholism, insisting that he is not actually an anti-Semite.
“We are saddened people were hurt. He is seeking help for his alcohol-related issues,” Starikov’s mother, Valery Starikov, told local Florida outlet WPLG.
Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman said that he and the Bal Harbour community in Florida were grateful for the police’s persistence in their investigation.
“On a Friday evening in March, an individual was jogging through Bal Harbour when he physically and verbally assaulted several orthodox Jewish couples. … As a result of amazing police work by our very own Bal Harbour Police Department, today the perpetrator was arrested! On behalf of the Bal Harbour community, I’d like to publicly thank the Bal Harbour Police Department for running this investigation,” he said in a Wednesday Facebook post.
He also added that the police were able to successfully investigate the incident due to a 2017 anti-Semitism ordinance that enables police to investigate cases of anti-Semitism as hate crimes.
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