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Leader of protest against NYC Covid-19 rules arrested in alleged assault

Harold "Heshy" Tischler was detained for investigation of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment.
Image: Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather in Borough Park in New York
Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn to protest against Covid-19 restrictions in New York City on Oct. 7.Yuki Iwamura / Reuters

A New York City Council candidate and radio host was arrested Sunday after a protest against coronavirus restrictions appeared to turn violent and a journalist said he was assaulted, authorities said.

The New York Police Department said in a statement that Harold "Heshy" Tischler was taken into custody for investigation of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment in the Oct. 7 incident in Brooklyn’s Borough Park section.

During an event that Tischler helped organize, dozens of Orthodox Jews burned masks and denounced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who issued the new restrictions in response to a spike in cases in the neighborhood.

The reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, of the Jewish Insider, said he was “brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me 'Nazi' and 'Hitler.'”

Kornbluh said Tischler recognized him and ordered the crowd to chase him down the street.

“I was saved by heroic police officers and several community members,” he said.

A reporter at a local news outlet, the Gothamist, said he saw the group pin Kornbluh against a wall while shouting “moyser,” or snitch.

Tischler did not respond to requests for comment Sunday, but in a series of tweets shortly after the announcement of his arrest, he said “'the journalist' was never assaulted” and that there was “no riot” in Borough Park.