Jewish UNM student attacked in possible hate crime

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A freshman at University of New Mexico was taken to the hospital and treated for serious injuries including internal bleeding and a concussion.

Roni Saponar told KOB 4 he was beat up by a group of guys during a party earlier this month. Saponar was wearing a shirt that said "Just Jew It.”

According to Saponar, the suspects also stole his shoes and smartwatch.

“They weren’t just trying to take my stuff — there was a feeling behind it,” he said.

“So there had to be some kind of anger behind it,” he added.

Saponar told KOB 4 he is from Israel and is Jewish.

He said the attackers yelled anti-Semitic slurs.

A spokesperson with the Albuquerque Police Department told KOB 4 it’s too early to know if the attack was a hate crime.

Saponar and his family posted pictures of his injuries online to raise awareness.

"I’m here because I want to portray a message: be proud of who you are. That’s what it is, that’s why I want to do this," he said.

The attack has gotten the attention multiple advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League.

“We are outraged and appalled by the violent attack against a University of New Mexico student and the alleged antisemitism that prompted the attack,” said Scott Levin, Regional Director, ADL Mountain States Region.

“It is abhorrent that anyone would be attacked simply because of who they are. We strongly encourage law enforcement to fully investigate this assault, including the allegations of antisemitism. And, we encourage prosecutors to pursue hate crime charges if the evidence in the case shows that the student was attacked by the group because of his Jewish identity.”

APD said this is an ongoing investigation and no arrests have been made.