Jeremy Furchtgottwas hurrying home to safety in Crown Heights before the full brunt of Sandy hit NYC. He fell on the sidewalk thinking he must have tripped on a branch. In fact, he was tripped by one of five assailants that mugged him. Before he knew what was happening the five men began beating him. They demanded his wallet and phone. Furchtgott was told to stay on the ground or he would be shot. The assault was captured on a nearby surveillance camera.
One can not help but wonder why this young man waited so long to seek shelter. The thought of being attacked on his way home during a hurricane never crossed his mind. He did not knowingly place himself in danger.
A dazed Furchtgott slipped in and out of consciousness while lying on the sidewalk. That is where Sruly Halon found him. Halon was unsure what happened to Furchtgott when he came upon him. “At first I didn’t know why he was lying there. I wasn’t sure if something happened to him physically. Maybe a tree hit him,” he said.
The debate over a “stand your ground” law proves mute in this case. Furchtgott was never afforded the opportunity to defend himself.
After being helped to his feet, Furchtgott was still dazed recalling he was robbed but did not remember getting beat. He suffered a concussion in the attack but elected not to go to the hospital. Calls to 911 proved fruitless with the volume of calls piling in.
This is not the only incident since Sandy. Coney Island has numerous accounts of violence and looting. One resident described, “People are turning on each otherÂ—they’re attacking each other. Even when there’s no disaster, this building is disastrous. But after the hurricane, it just got crazy. We have to get out of here.”
New York proudly embraces the label of “the city that never sleeps,” but it was never meant to include the criminal element. As this story shows, not even a hurricane will prevent someone from being mugged. Was Furchtgott victimized because of the weather? No, he was the victim of opportunistic crime. A disaster will bring out the best in good people and the worst in bad.