Virginia brothers arrested for anti-Semitic assault on man wearing Star of David

(JTA) – Two Virginia brothers were arrested after they were captured on video yelling anti-Semitic comments at a man wearing a Star of David.

The incident occurred Monday outside of Hey Joe’s, a restaurant in the Appalachian Trail town of Damascus owned by the father of the suspects, Joseph Killian, 33, and Henry Killian II, 35, the Bristol Herald-Courier reported.

Craig Johnston, who reportedly was hiking the trail, filmed the encounter and posted it to social media.

Damascus Police told the Herald-Courier that Johnston told police he planned to buy marijuana from the brothers. Johnston maintains in comments on Facebook that he only stopped at the restaurant to eat when the brothers noticed his Star of David.

The town’s mayor, Jack McCrady, said in a Facebook post that while Johnston, whom he called the “not so innocent victim,” did not press charges against the brothers, the town did based on the video.

“Nothing can justify the hideous statements by those involved. This does not represent Damascus or our citizens,” McCrady wrote in the post.

The mayor said the restaurant is due to close at the end of the month.

The brothers were charged with disorderly conduct and assault, and have not been given bail. They are scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 6.

Joseph Killian also was charged with assault and battery for appearing to strike Johnston or his phone during the filmed encounter. Police say that no drugs exchanged hands, according to the Herald-Courier.

In the video, the brothers tell Johnston that he “should be in a f***in’ Jewish oven and die like your ancestors.” They also call him “Jewish scum” and tell him he is not welcome in the restaurant. They also threaten to “come and find you later.”

Though Johnston reportedly removed the video from his Facebook page at the request of the mayor, it remained on a video streaming site and on Reddit, and was posted on YouTube.

1 Comment

  1. Raphael Solomon says

    There is an important fact missing from this story: why is Joseph Killian charged with assault (In fact the other brother was not charged with assault). The description in the article above does not mention anything justifying an assault charge. Anti-semitic rants are NOT assault.

    A little digging gave me the answer. Apparently, Joseph Killian struck either Craig Johnston or his mobile phone. If I had to guess, Johnston was filming and Killian struck him in an attempt to wrestle the phone away.

    The information I found was on this website:

    We cannot afford this sort of sloppy journalism. Accuracy is very important in reporting of anti-Semitic incidents.

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