Rachel Gunnoe, a stay-at-home mom from New Jersey, was in a Times Square on Saturday, taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Egypt, when she was accosted by a man who grabbed her protest sign, threw it in her face, and called her a “fucking terrorist.”
Her assailant, identified by the NYPD as Atef Sabry Abu El Enin, 33, of Washington D.C., was quickly restrained by officers but, the Voice has learned, he was not charged with assault.
Instead, he was taken to a local precinct where he was given a ticket for disorderly conduct and dismissed. But he may face more charges soon–the NYPD confirms the attack is being investigated as “a possible bias incident.”
Gunnoe tells the Voice she has been speaking with a detective from the NYPD’s hate crimes division who is investigating the attack.
“I feel like the officers who arrested him and the precinct that he was in, the supervisor, I think that they dropped the ball but,” Gunnoe says. But she adds the detective who is handling the case now, “he’s doing what should have been done last Saturday.”
On Saturday, Detective Ort of the NYPD confirms to the Voice, El Enin “was issued a summons for disorderly conduct,” and released from custody.
But a new case has been opened. “We’re investigating it to determine whether it was a bias incident,” she says. “It involves interviewing people.” The investigation may be hampered by the fact that El Enin lives outside of New York state, in Washington D.C.
Some accounts of the incident that surfaced after the attack suggest that El Enin was a supporter of Egyptian General el-Sisi.
The NYPD could not confirm those reports. Detective Ort would only say the investigation “is ongoing.”
Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart