Police: “Anti-Semitic” Incident Outside Lower Merion Kosher Restaurant Wasn’t

Officials say no slurs were used; "just two angry guys going at it in a parking lot."

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

Last week, Lower Merion was aflutter over allegations of anti-Semitic threats outside a kosher restaurant on Montgomery Avenue. But after days of investigation and involvement from the Anti-Defamation League, the Lower Merion Police Department says there wasn’t anything anti-Semitic about it. It was just two guys with a beef.

The allegations originally surfaced on the Lower Merion community Facebook page late on Saturday, December 5th. The story was always a little murky but went something like this: Car almost hits 5-year-old boy outside of the Dairy Cafe, father of said boy gets into it with the driver of said car, and driver of said car makes threats involving a gun and using anti-Semitic language against the father, who is Jewish.

Around 9 p.m. that night, police came out and interviewed the man who allegedly made the threats. They said they searched for eyewitnesses and video surveillance footage but found none, and so they put the case file in the ultra-low priority “he said, he said” bin.

Over the next couple of days and with community concern in the heavily Jewish-populated neighborhood high, elected officials got involved and so did the Anti-Defamation League. The case was moved to the top of the pile. Police and community leaders put out an online call for witnesses to the events of that night, and several had come forward by the end of last week, leading police to conclude what they thought from the very beginning: There’s nothing to see here.

“It was learned that there was never a threat of a gun or that anybody was going to be shot,” explains Lieutenant Christopher Polo, who heads up the Investigations Unit for the Lower Merion Police Department. He says the investigation determined that no slurs or anti-Semitic remarks were made. “From all the evidence and information we’ve received,” says Polo, “this was just two angry guys going at it in a parking lot.” Polo describes both men as “equal participants” in the argument. He adds that both men are Jewish, and that no charges will be filed.

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