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Lexington Police: Driver shouting slurs runs over man attending menorah lighting ceremony

Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 11:11 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A member of Chabad of the Bluegrass was injured Saturday night after an alleged antisemitic incident.

Chabad of the Bluegrass’s Rabbi Shlomo Litvin confirmed the incident happened around 7 Saturday night ahead of a menorah lighting ceremony at the UK Jewish Student Center.

Both Lexington Police and Rabbi Litvin said a driver pulled up to the group, using foul language. The Rabbi said the full extent of what was said was unclear. Police told WKYT the driver was using antisemitic slurs.

Rabbi Litvin said a community member at the lighting ceremony walked up to the driver’s side door, and tried to block the driver from causing further disruption. Officials said the man in the car then reached out, grabbed the victim, accelerated his car and dragged them. Rabbi Litvin said the driver swerved and ran over the victim’s leg.

Rabbi Litvin said the victim refused to be treated until the menorah was lit.

“Someone yelled, ‘Call 911,’ and he said, ‘First let’s light the menorah, I’m not going to allow that to stop us from celebrating our faith and spreading the light, which is the very message of Chanukah,’” Rabbi Litvin says. “Anything can be used for spirituality or negativity. Anything that happens to you, how you react is what that thing is.”

The victim was taken to UK hospital. He was released Sunday morning.

Police said they are still trying to locate the vehicle and driver involved in this incident.

Rabbi Litvin said Saturday’s event was held in response to another antisemitic event on campus last month targeting the Jewish Center.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton reacted to the incident, saying “racism and religious persecution have no place here”.

Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron also reacted to the incident. He called it sickening and unacceptable, saying it is important to speak out against anti-semitism in all its forms.

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