Nassau Police arrested a Queens man who is accused of yelling anti-Semitic slurs and threats in Costco in Lawrence on Sunday. According to police, defendant Justin Pichizaca, 20, of 11811 152nd Street, threatened two men and an 11-year-old child with physical violence and yelled slurs based on their religion. Pichizaca has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree menacing.
The incident began in the bathroom, when Avrumi Fridman says the suspect came up to him and said “The Nazis will finish you off.” Fridman followed the man out of the bathroom and through the store asking Pichizaca to “say it to my face” so he could get the suspect’s words on video.
The video contains explicit language. According to Fridman, while he was recording Pichizaca ranting at him, no one nearby did or said anything.
Fridman said he spoke to the store manager, and was advised by a friend who is an attorney to call the police. Fridman said he went to tell the manager he was calling the police, and the manager went to find the man to get his Costco membership number to cancel it. Pichizaca left the store when he saw the manager approaching.
The police arrived and saw Fridman’s video. Fridman says they admonished him for chasing after Pichizaca with his cell phone. Fridman claims the officer told him, “Once you followed him out of the bathroom, you became the aggressor.”
The officers wrote up a report and told Fridman they would pass it on to a detective. Later in the day, Fridman received a call from a detective who apologized for the officers’ statements.
“I strongly believe that the current political climate we live in has brought about the actions of the police today,” Fridman wrote on Facebook. “A Jew being verbally attacked does not fit the narrative that the current local government, both in Nassau County and NYC, want painted.”
Fridman credits Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman for addressing the issue with Nassau County Police.
Blakeman said: “Thank you to NCPD Commissioner Pat Ryder for springing into action and arranging the arrest of this dangerous person. I spoke with the commissioner . . . and was informed detectives completed their investigation and determined a crime had been committed and an arrest was warranted. Thank you to Avrumi Fridman for your courage . . . . We must all remain vigilant. The threat is real!”