A New York man was awarded $4.5 million on Sept. 19 after an alleged assault by a religious security patrol in 2013, officials said.

A New York man was awarded $4.5 million on Sept. 19 after an alleged assault by a religious security patrol in 2013, officials said.

Taj Patterson was walking in Brooklyn nearly 10 years ago when he said people from a religious volunteer group chased him and attacked him, court documents show.

“I was a 22-year-old guy going to a friend’s birthday party,” Patterson, who was a student in New York at the time, told McClatchy News in a phone interview. “I didn’t think my life would change so dramatically so quickly.”

After years of litigation, the case reached its conclusion on September 19.

On Dec. 1, 2013, men from the Williamsburg Safety Patrol, a volunteer group of Orthodox Jews, shouted homophobic slurs and beat Patterson, a gay black man, so severely that he was blinded in one eye after the attack, he said in court documents.

Patterson said the safety patrol received a call earlier in the evening about a black man vandalizing vehicles in Williamsburg.

“So I guess they took it upon themselves to arrest the first black person they saw,” he said.

Neither the Williamsburg Safety Patrol nor the New York Police Department immediately responded to a request for comment from McClatchy News.

Patterson was taken to the hospital with his injuries, he said. While he was being treated, police closed their investigation into the incident and marked it as “Concluded, No Arrests,” according to court documents.

After Patterson and his mother covered the incident in the press, they were contacted by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit.

Their investigation led to the arrests of five people. The two men’s cases were dismissed; two pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and one was convicted of gang assault and unlawful imprisonment, according to a court document. However, his the conviction was overturned in 2018, according to court filings.

In the lawsuit against the city, Patterson said the police had “inappropriate connections” to the patrol, which is funded at least in part by the city. He also said they botched his original investigation.

However, on Sept. 19, Patterson was awarded “$4.5 million, including $3 million for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain,” marking the end of the years-long legal saga, according to court documents.

In a brief virtual appearance, Judge Miriam Sunshine addressed Patterson and his attorney.

After reading the medical report, Sunshine said “she is unlikely to be able to read or have good eyesight”.

“There is no numerical value that can be placed on vision, limbs or the body as a whole,” Patterson said. “I was badly raped… But that being said, I’m glad it’s over after almost a decade.”