LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police on Wednesday were investigating a brawl involving a car caravan of Palestinian supporters and sidewalk diners, including two Jewish men, as a hate crime, the city’s mayor said.
The incident occurred late Tuesday outside a sushi restaurant in the Beverly Grove area, as violence in Israel and Gaza intensified.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, in tweetsposted Wednesday afternoon, said the city’s police department is “investigating this assault as a hate crime, and we will respond with the full force of the law.”
“L.A. is a city of belonging, not of hate,” he wrote. “There is simply no place for anti-Semitism, discrimination, or prejudice of any kind in Los Angeles. And we will never tolerate bigotry and violence in our communities.”
Video obtained by KTLA showed vehicles with Palestinian flags and then a fight on a sidewalk. KTLA said the video was recorded and shared with the station by a viewer who wished to remain anonymous.
KTLA reported that a witness, who was not identified, said a group of men jumped out of vehicles, asked some men if any of them were Jewish, and the fighting erupted when two men replied they were.
Restaurant staff then rushed patrons inside and called police.
City Councilman Paul Koretz said he went to the restaurant later and had been briefed by police.
“We will never allow for anyone to strike fear into our hearts because we are Jews,” he said Wednesday. “We are not going to allow the violence in the Middle East to spill out onto the streets of Los Angeles.”
Police Officer Jader Chaves confirmed that an incident was reported at the location.
“It looks like we are investigating that as a possible ADW, assault with a deadly weapon, hate crime,” Chaves told The Associated Press.
The Israeli-American Council, a nonprofit that advocates for and serves Israeli Americans, said it is “deeply concerned” by the attack.
“We condemn this hate crime in the strongest possible terms and urge authorities to find and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” the council said.