June 5, 2024
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Viral Antisemite at ShopRite of Englewood Arrested

You might have already seen the video: an irate man at the checkout line of the Englewood ShopRite, pointing his fingers at a visibly Jewish patron in the store, shouting, “Am I antisemitic now because I’m talking about the Jews?” That video, which went viral quickly on social media in early May, captured assailant Edwin Reyes spewing antisemitic tropes at a Jewish Teaneck resident by the name of Ari.** After contending with whether or not to report the incident to local police, Ari ultimately decided that he would speak up — and on Wednesday, May 29, Reyes was arrested for his targeted assault at ShopRite in Englewood.

Reyes is seen in the checkout line at ShopRite in Englewood shouting antisemitic slurs. 

Ari shared with The Jewish Link that he was shopping as usual at ShopRite and, as he left the building, a man began pointing at him and cursing with explicit reference to Ari’s outwardly Jewish appearance. After unloading the groceries in his car, Ari returned to the ShopRite in order to warn some other Jewish patrons inside the building of the man. “I encountered him again and decided to put my camera on him,” he explained, noting that the man, later identified as Reyes, was not aware he was being recorded. “He really gave me everything I wanted.”

In the video, Reyes is seen wearing a green hoodie and shouting antisemitic vitriol in front of multiple ShopRite employees and customers. “You’re humanity’s enemy! Everything you stand for, you and your people are all lies and deception,” he said. “Take it to the police station, coward. You’re killing babies in Gaza, you murderous scum.”

“I’m not sure what’s worse, what that guy was saying, or the fact that no one else had the guts to say anything to him,” Ari said right into the camera as he left the store again. Ari then stated to someone outside: “[just waiting] for a guy who’s giving me some problems,” and Reyes appeared seemingly out of nowhere to confront Ari. “Everything you stand for is made up,” Reyes shouted as the other bystander tried to calm him down. “Your Holocaust … everything is made up.” The bystander walked Reyes away from Ari, at which point Reyes then yelled, “Your people have all the money! Ten million dollars from your tax money!”

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=461046596281605&rdid=Exf5gKhlYZMNlEl6

As Reyes walked away, he began to threaten Ari, stating, “We’re going to hunt you guys down,” while asking if Ari would fight him. “We are not violent people,” Ari replied, triggering another bout of yelling from Reyes. The video concluded with Ari warning a group of yeshiva students standing outside the store to be careful, along with a send-off of “Am Yisrael Chai.”

When Ari returned home from the encounter with Reyes, he felt the need to share the footage with those he knew involved with security: the volunteers at his shul as well as Chaverim of Bergen County. “These guys are professionals and I wanted them to be aware of this man — just to get his face out there and make sure we’re not letting him into our schools or synagogues,” Ari explained to The Jewish Link.

Within minutes of sharing the video, Ari’s 20-year-old son asked his father why a friend had just spotted a video of Ari at ShopRite; they both realized the footage had gone viral. Jew Hate Database, an online watchdog of antisemitism, obtained Ari’s video shortly after, identifying the man as Edwin Reyes and sharing his photo to their tens of thousands of followers on social media. The next day, Ari received a call from the Englewood Police Department, inquiring whether he was interested in pressing charges against Reyes for the antisemitic harassment.

The post shared by Jew Hate Database.

“I wasn’t necessarily interested in going through the process of filing the report,” Ari shared. “He didn’t attack me physically, so I didn’t think it would go anywhere. But my rabbi advised me to do the right thing and the next day I went into the police station and made my complaint.”

Ari was asked by investigators about the nature of the attack to determine whether there was an instigating incident that might have provoked Reyes into harassing Ari. In addition to his own video, Ari directed investigators to the security footage from ShopRite, which showed that Reyes began the confrontation out of nowhere. “There’s a line between freedom of speech and harassment … the police saw the harassment clearly.”

Englewood PD contacted Ari on Thursday, May 30, to inform him that Reyes had in fact been arrested after they determined that his actions were targeted and antisemitic. Reyes was subsequently released from custody and is now awaiting trial.

“It’s hard to stop people from being vile toward our community,” Ari shared. “I want people to know that there are consequences to their actions, and hopefully, we can deter them from spreading hate and antisemitism. Turning down that temperature dial would be a huge accomplishment for us.”

**Last name withheld upon request.

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