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He was indicted for a threat against Manhattan Jews. Some neighbors want him in custody.

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Some Upper West Side residents are upset that a man indicted on charges related to a threat to attack the Jewish community in Manhattan remains free on bail following a court appearance Wednesday. He is living in his family’s apartment in the neighborhood. 

Matthew Mahrer, 22, was arrested alongside Christopher Brown on Nov. 18 in Penn Station. The two were reportedly in possession of a firearm, bulletproof vest and swastika armband at the time. 

Both men were indicted on conspiracy and weapons charges and both pleaded innocent. Brown has been in jail since the arrest. Mahrer’s family posted $150,000 bail. His attorney, Brandon Freycinet, said in court Wednesday that Mahrer is Jewish, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, has autism and would not atttack his own people, according to news reports.

While an assistant district attorney argued that Mahrer should be taken back into custody, citing the weapons found at the time of the arrest, Mahrer’s defense attorney replied that the existence of this evidence was known when the court set his bail. 

Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Neil Ross agreed to let Mahrer remain free on bail.

Brown had posted a number of ominous statements about murder to Twitter in the days leading up to his arrest, according to the indictment, and alleged that Mahrer had traveled to Pennsylvania to illegally buy a firearm. 

At the time of the arrests, Mayor Eric Adams said the two had posed “a real threat” to the Jewish community. 

Sheldon Fine, the vice chair of the Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations of the West Side and former president of the West Side Jewish Community Council, said Mahrer is “not a person who should be back in the community.”

“The safety of the community doesn’t seem to be a concern,” added Fine, who was in court for the proceeding. “If he acts on any of his issues in any way, it could be a danger to other people or God forbid, murder. On the other hand, people may be frightened and react badly to him.”

He noted that a synagogue is located within close proximity to the apartment where Mahrer lives.

“There are so many synagogues and Jewish schools and institutions in the neighborhood that if the attack was going to be on Jews, then there are 75,000 people on the West Side,” said Fine.

Fine said Mahrer should be sent to a mental health facility while his case is before the courts. 

“From what I can gather, he has certain difficulties and may have fallen into this,” he said. “If that’s the case, it’s not going to be helpful for him to be in jail.”

Mahrer’s next court appearance is set for Feb. 1.

The post He was indicted for a threat against Manhattan Jews. Some neighbors want him in custody. appeared first on The Forward.

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