Anti-lockdown leader Heshy Tischler is freed without bail
Anti-lockdown activist Heshy Tischler was released without bail on Monday after spending a night in jail over an attack on a reporter during a protest in Brooklyn last week.
The potential City Council candidate and radio host is a leading figure within the Orthodox Jewish community in New York City, leading the push back against Gov. Cuomo’s intensified COVID-19 restrictions in their neighborhoods.
He was charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment after violent scenes erupted at anti-lockdown protests he led in Borough Park last week.
There were celebrations as Tischler was released by the judge with a protection order in place that will prevent him from contacting Jacob Kornbluh, a Jewish Insider reporter who was allegedly chased, assaulted and screamed at by a crowd incited by Tischler.
Tischler’s supporters had gathered to protest at Kornbluh’s house following his arrest on Sunday night.
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Anti-lockdown activist Heshy Tischler after his release without bail Monday night
Heshy Tischler appears via video link at the Central Court Building on Monday night
Tischler, a City Council candidate and activist in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, leaves Kings County Criminal Court after his arraignment Monday
Heshy Tischler’s legal team speaks to the media after his appearance via video link at the Central Court Building in Brooklyn on Monday night. He was released without bail
Heshy Tischler records a celebratory message to his supporters after arriving home following his release without bail on Monday night. He thanked them for their support
Judge Edwin Novillo told Tischler that he would be subject to getting arrested again if he had any contact – or had someone else get into contact on his behalf, including through social media – Kornbluh.
Tischler’s attorney Abraham Hoschander protested against the judge implementing the order of protection against his client, saying he ‘poses no danger whatsoever’.
Tischler was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on April 27.
He appeared at the Central Court Building via video link before being seen being driven away in a silver car on his release.
The activist insisted that he was not behind the ‘fan’ Twitter account that had urged violence against Kornbluh, according to New York Daily News.
‘Your honor, I have only one account, JustEnoughHeshy,’ he declared, ‘Mr. Kornbluh and others have made accounts’. The judge denied the accusation.
‘I want to thank all my supporters, I want to tell everybody again, no violence whatsoever. And I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me for me, for all your prayers,’ Tischler said in a video posted to Twitter as he arrived home.
‘Don’t forget, watch my show Wednesday night … Thank you, good night everybody, I’ll speak to you all tomorrow.’
Tischler also called his arrest a ‘political stunt’ on Twitter. He has said he believed his interactions with Kornbluh were protected by the First Amendment.
Kornbluh has been among Jewish reporters and photographers who have been reporting on the ongoing unrest in the Orthodox community, where many are refusing to adhere to social distancing laws or wear masks.
Last Wednesday, he was at a rally when Tischler’s supporters turned on him. Kornbluh says they called him a ‘Nazi’, ‘Hitler’ and ‘moyser’ – the Yiddish word for snitch – as they chased and assaulted him.
Heshy Tischler gathers with members of the Orthodox Jewish community over new coronavirus restrictions at a protest in Borough Park, Brooklyn on Wednesday
Jacob Kornbluh (hooded left) is chased away and accused of being a snitch as Orthodox Jewish people gather in Borough Park to protest last week
Video shows a crowd of men, egged on by Tischler, surrounding, jostling and taunting Kornbluh.
Tischler, who was not wearing a mask, can be seen screaming in Kornbluh’s face.
Kornbluh, who is also an Orthodox Jew, said he was struck and kicked during the incident.
‘They blame me for reporting that led to the new restrictions imposed by the governor,’ Kornbluh told DailyMail.com on Monday.
He reported the incident to the NYPD and Tischler was going to hand himself in on Monday morning but was blindsided with an arrest on Sunday instead night.
After an argument with officers, he was escorted into a dark minivan as many Borough Park residents looked on.
He was charged with inciting a riot, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment for the October 7 attack on Kornbluh.
A crowd of Orthodox Jewish protesters gathered outside the apartment of Jacob Kornbluh, the journalist allegedly chased an attacked by a mob incited by Heshy Tischler
Heshy Tischler was taken into custody on Sunday night in Borough Park, Brooklyn on charges of unlawful imprisonment and inciting a riot
Protesters had gathered at both the Borough Park police station and at 13th Ave. and 41st to show their anger at Tischler’s arrest on Sunday night.
Supporters also chanted ‘No Heshy, No Peace’ as they gathered outside Kornbluh’s home.
Some of the crowd danced in the street while at least one waved a Trump flag and another demanded to ‘defund de Blasio’, with few of them wearing masks or social distancing.
One group of people surrounded the entrance to Kornbluh’s apartment building, but were kept at bay by NYC cops.
Tischler filmed the moment he was taken into custody, apparently one day before he was due to turn himself in on Monday.
‘I called, I even spoke to the chief. They tricked me,’ he is heard complaining to cops on Sunday. ‘They’re telling everybody that I was supposed to be arrested tomorrow.’
Last night a tweet from Tischler’s account purported to give an ‘urgent message from Heshy’, claiming cops were ‘denying my rights to see a judge tonight’.
A second message read: ‘Update from Heshy: Keeping me here for the night and delayed my processing of the paperwork by the mayor and DA. Political stunt. Will not stop fighting for you.’
Masked police officers at the scene where hundreds of Hasidic men gathered on Sunday night
At least one person waved a flag backing President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign
Tischler’s attorneys on Monday said that his arrest was ‘politically motivated’.
‘Our client was arrested. It was a politically motivated arrest. It was completely unjust. Everyone sees in New York City all the rioting and looting and violence the burning of police vehicles.. here in this case- nobody was hurt.
‘Nothing was looted and it’s all politically motivated. Here we have a man who was innocently protesting over the Jewish holiday. It could even be construed as a large holiday gathering,’ attorney Mindy Meyer said on Monday morning.
Large protests erupted in Borough Park last week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions on schools, businesses and houses of worship in areas where coronavirus infection rates have increased.
The majority of the areas facing lockdowns are home to large Orthodox Jewish populations, and religious leaders have complained of being singled out.
The spike in cases coincided with the back-to-back Jewish holidays in late September.
Borough Park is the worst effected neigtborhood in New York City at the moment
Cuomo said Sunday that the so-called cluster areas contain 2.8 percent of the state’s population, yet have had 17.6 percent of all positive confirmed cases reported this past week.
The Democratic governor urged people living in those areas to abide by the restrictions even though the new rules ban large gatherings in synagogues.
On Monday morning, Cuomo said again that the Hasidic communities were causing the spike in cases.
‘We have a cluster in Brooklyn and in Queens primarily which is primarily a Hasidic Jewish community that doesn’t want to accept the social distancing rules.
‘So it’s about two percent of the population but we’re focusing on that two percent and we need the ability to focus on these small clusters now because if you don’t catch a cluster, it becomes a contagion.’
A New York federal judge ruled that Cuomo’s partial lockdown was lawful, dismissing a claim from Orthodox Jewish organizations that it violated the free exercise of their religion.
‘Covid crosses racial, religious and economic lines,’ said Judge Kiyo A Matsumoto.
The governor’s legal filing argued that ‘a mass gathering is not less dangerous simply because it is religious in nature’.
‘The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community.. to communicable disease,’ it added.
Cuomo’s measures also received backing from the liberal New York Jewish Agenda network which released a statement signed by 450 rabbis supporting the ‘data-driven, geographically based approach.’
About 20 neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland County and Orange County have been slapped with intensified restrictions as the coronavirus positivity rate soars.
It means synagogues must have no more than 10 people gathered.
Tischler has led some of the opposition, cutting the chains off playgrounds in the spring after they were ordered closed by the state and recently disrupting a news conference by the head of the city’s hospital system.
This is not his first arrest.
According to Daily News, he was indicted in 2011 for being part of a massive immigration fraud scheme, for which he was later sentenced to prison.