A man has been arrested and charged with a felony hate crime after he allegedly told an off-duty NYPD officer wearing a hijab to “go back to your country.”
The incident happened on Saturday evening in Bay Ridge, when Officer Aml Elsokary was with her teenage son, according to an NYPD spokesman. As Elsokary tried to intervene in a dispute between her son and 36-year-old Christopher Nelson, Nelson began calling her a “terrorist,” and “ISIS,” the spokesman said. Nelson fled after bystanders threatened to call the police.
On Sunday, Nelson was arrested and charged with felony menacing and aggravated harassment.
A little more than a week after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, New York City saw a 31.5 percent increase in bias attacks. On November 10, a Muslim woman riding the Q43 was allegedly harassed by a white, middle-aged couple, who yelled at her to remove her hijab. Last week a Muslim woman on the 6 train was attacked by three men screaming “Donald Trump!” No one intervened.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill appeared with Officer Eloskary at a press conference on Monday morning.
“I was sick to my stomach when I heard that one of our officers was subjected to threats and taunting simply because of her faith,” the mayor told reporters, noting that there are 900 uniformed Muslim NYPD officers. “It’s important to put a human face to this story.”
Commissioner O’Neill said that in 2014, Eloskary, an 11-year veteran who works in the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, ran in to a burning building to rescue a young girl and her grandmother.
“I became a police officer to show the positive side of [being] a New Yorker, a Muslim woman that can do this job, that is non-biased,” Eloskary said at the press conference. “I help everybody no matter what’s your religion, what’s your faith, what you do in New York. I’m born and raised here, and I’m here to protect you and I know my department and my city is here to protect me.”
According to NYPD, hate crimes are up 35% from last year. Huge spike after Election Day. Mostly anti-Semitic. “Across the board increase.”
— Max RN (@MaxRivlinNadler) December 5, 2016
O’Neill warned others who might intimidate their fellow New Yorkers that they would be swiftly prosecuted.
“If anybody’s thinking about in New York City engaging in this type of behavior, rest assured that you will be identified and you will be arrested and you will be charged accordingly,” he said. “There’s no place for that in New York City.”