Tag Archives: hate crime

Suspect charged with hate crime in Ozone Park hit-and-run of Sikh man


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Updated Wednesday, Aug. 20 11:52 p.m.

A 55-year-old Long Island man has been charged with a hate crime after he allegedly called another man “Osama” before intentionally running him over and dragging him several feet before fleeing, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Joseph Caleca has been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime and leaving the scene without reporting. 

“The defendant is accused of an unprovoked attack that allegedly began with the defendant driving by the victim and his friends and yelling out a vile anti-Muslim insult,” Brown said. “After an exchange of words, the defendant allegedly struck the victim intentionally with his vehicle and dragged his body along the street.”

On July 30, the victim, 29-year-old Sandeep Singh, was standing at the intersection of 101st Avenue and 99th Street in Ozone Park with three friends just after midnight when a light-colored pickup truck driven by Caleca approached the group. Caleca then went on to say, “in sum and substance,” according to Brown, “Move your [expletive] ass. You’re [expletive] slow, you [expletive] Osama. Go back to your country.”

Afterwards, Caleca allegedly parked his truck, got out and confronted Singh and his friends. After a verbal dispute, Caleca then returned to his truck and drove head-on into Singh, catching his body on the vehicle’s undercarriage and then dragging Singh several feet until his body got out from under the vehicle, according to the district attorney. Caleca then fled the scene. 

Singh was taken to Jamaica Hospital with abdominal and back injuries, and several abrasions.

A week after Singh was struck outside of his business, a rally was held urging authorities to investigate the incident as a hate crime, according to DNAinfo.

Caleca was ordered held without bail and to return to court on Sept. 10. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

 

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Police arrest man accused of making anti-Muslim statements toward teen on Queens bus


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for making anti-Muslim statements toward a 15-year-old girl aboard a Queens bus while spiting at the teen and threatening to punch her has been arrested, cops said.

Perry Germano, a 50-year-old Ozone Park resident, has been charged with attempted assault, aggravated harassment and menacing in connection to the incident, according to police.

The arrest comes about 24 hours after the NYPD released a photo of the suspect.

Germano is accused of harassing the victim on a Q88 bus near Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard about 9 a.m. on April 7, officials said.

After Germano spat at the teen, he allegedly raised his fist at her while saying he was going to punch her.

 

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Man makes anti-Muslim statements, spits on 15-year-old girl aboard Queens bus: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A 15-year-old girl was harassed while riding a Queens bus last week when a man made anti-Muslim remarks toward her, spat at the teen and threatened her, police said.

The incident occurred aboard a Q88 bus near the Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard about 9 a.m. on April 7, officials said.

After the suspect spat at the girl, he allegedly raised his fist at her while saying he was going to punch her.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Cops release photos of suspect sought in subway bias attack


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police have released photos of the suspect who allegedly punched a Hispanic man, then made anti-Mexican statements towards him on a No. 7 train.

The 43-year-old victim was on a Queens-bound train about 4 p.m. Sunday when the suspect approached him and punched him twice in the face, then made the bias remarks, cops said. The suspect then fled at the Court Square station in Long Island City.

The victim sustained bruises to the nose and a lacerated lip, but refused medical aid at the scene, according to police.

Authorities describe the suspect as a black male, 6′ tall and 165 pounds.

In addition to the surveillance photos, which were obtained from after the assault, police have also released a sketch of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Man sought in bias assault on No. 7 train


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A suspect allegedly assaulted a Hispanic man on a No. 7 train before making anti-Mexican statements towards him, cops said.

The 43-year-old victim was on a northbound train about 4 p.m. Sunday when the suspect approached him and punched him twice in the face, then made the bias remarks, police said. The suspect then fled the train at the Court Square station in Long Island City.

The victim sustained bruises to the nose and a lacerated lip, but refused medical aid at the scene, according to cops.

Police describe the suspect as a black male, 6′ tall and 165 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Far Rockaway teen busted for anti-Semitic graffiti at LIRR station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA Long Island Rail Road

A Far Rockaway teen has been arrested for defacing the Cedarhurst Long Island Rail Road station with anti-Semitic graffiti on eight occasions, the MTA said.

Jonathan Schuster, 18, has been charged with felony criminal mischief in the third degree as a hate crime, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and making graffiti, according to MTA police.

A senior at Priority-1:Torah Academy of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, a yeshiva located in the town, Schuster allegedly committed the acts starting in December 2012. He is accused of using a black marker to write anti-Semitic statements, which usually contained expletives, on platform advertising billboards, police said.

His arrest comes after a year-long investigation that included uniformed patrols and surveillance by undercover detectives, according to the MTA. A wanted poster was also issued last month and a reward was offered for any information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest. Tips lead detectives to Schuster who allegedly confessed to the crime, police said.

Since December 2012, there have been 11 incidents in which anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on advertisements at three Long Island Rail Road stations in the Five Towns area of Nassau County, including the eight at Cedarhurst station, three at Lawrence station and one at Hewlett station, authorities said.

MTA Police are continuing to investigate the other incidents.

 

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Cops seek three in possible anti-gay assault at Astoria diner


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A verbal dispute at an Astoria diner that escalated into an assault is being investigated as a possible anti-gay hate crime and authorities are looking for three suspects in connection to the incident, police said.

The victims, a 30-year-old woman and 32-year-old man, were inside of the Neptune Diner, located at 31-05 Astoria Blvd., about 5 a.m. on Jan. 8, when they became involved in an argument, which involved anti-gay statements made towards them, the NYPD said.

The three suspects then allegedly threw plates at the victims, police said.

The victims were taken to Mount Sinai Queens with lacerations to their heads, cops said.

Investigators from the Hate Crimes Task Force are looking to question two women and one man depicted in surveillance photos police have released from the diner.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Virgin Mary statue beheaded at Ozone Park church


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Katelyn DiSalvo

A Virgin Mary statue was beheaded in Ozone Park and police are investigating it as a hate crime, cops said.

Monday morning the St. Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic church discovered the headless statue outside its doors. It was removed from the property shortly after.

“If this is a hate crime against a church, I believe it’s demeaning and disrespectful toward the religion and the community,” said Alessandro Damico, a member of the St. Mary parish.

Church representatives said police are looking into the incident and have no further comment.

“This is not to be accepted, especially for an icon in our community such as St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The 104th Street church lacks outdoor security cameras, so cops will search the surrounding community for similarly reported incidents, said a police source.

The investigation is ongoing.

A bill to increase the penalty for hate crimes passed the state in 2000. A current bill to once more increase the penalties for criminal activity at places of worship passed the State Senate in June 2013, but did not pass in the State Assembly. It will most likely be reintroduced next legislative session, according to Addabbo.

-With additional reporting by Katelyn DiSalvo

 

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New Park Pizza in Howard Beach vandalized


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo via mrsquinn1118/Instagram

The iconic Howard Beach pizzeria, New Park Pizza, was reportedly vandalized early Friday morning.

An angry customer tagged “worst service ever” on the pizza spot’s front windows for all of Cross Bay Boulevard to see, according to an Instagram picture posted Friday morning.

An employee said the graffiti was washed away by the time he came into work.

New Park Pizza was the site of a 1986 hate crime in which a black man, Michael Griffith, was killed.

 

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Pols and Sikh Cultural Society respond to alleged Sikh hate crime


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Just days after a Sikh professor at Columbia University was brutally attacked, the Sikh community and elected officials gathered in Richmond Hill to speak out against what is being investigated as a hate crime.

Dr. Prabhjot Singh was walking through Harlem on Saturday, September 21 when more than a dozen attackers shouted slurs such as “Osama” and “terrorist” before grabbing Singh’s beard and beating him to the ground. He suffered a fractured jaw in the attack, according to a family friend.

“You are not suffering alone,” said Assemblymember David Weprin outside the Sikh Cultural Society. “Hate crimes against any group of people are intolerable and preventable.”

Weprin stood alongside Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, City Councilmember and Public Advocate candidate Letitia James, City Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Mark Weprin and the Richmond Hill Sikh community, who all condemned the crime against Singh.

“We have to stand up each and every time there’s a biased attack,” de Blasio said.

He added the city should use “aggressive policing” against violent, biased crimes as well as utilize “every tool” to make sure these attacks don’t happen again. He specifically noted educating youth in schools about different religions.

Sona Rai, Singh’s friend and spokesperson, said that Singh is out of the hospital and already back at work. He now wants to give his attackers an opportunity to ask about his faith and his connection to the community, Rai said.

Rai, also a board member of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, added that the overwhelming support in response to Singh’s incident has given him a “renewed sense” of how important his work is.

“The best way to deal with hate crimes in the city of New York is to come together,” James said. “We must respond forcefully as one community. Our differences are really are greatest strengths.”

 

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Police say attack on interracial couple in LIC not a hate crime


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Cops say the attack on an interracial couple in Long Island City this past weekend was not a hate crime.

According to a police source, the Hate Crimes Task Force Unit deemed the case unbiased yet the assault is still under investigation by the NYPD.

Since the incident, police have arrested Nikolaos Katsos, 28, and charged him with assault and harassment. Yet, police are still looking for other suspects.

On Saturday, August 17 at 1:45 a.m. Jacob James-Vogel, 37, and his wife Billie, 40, were assaulted in front of 47-20 Center Boulevard, said police.

It was initially reported that the couple said they were leaving SHI restaurant in Long Island City with a gay friend after celebrating Billie’s birthday when they were approached by a group of men who began yelling homophobic and racial slurs. Both Jacob and his wife received injuries from an altercation during the attack.

According to a statement from SHI restaurant, surveillance footage showed the incident took place down the street from the eatery. The establishment also said the footage also shows the couple and their friend were not attacked randomly after Jacob “was asked to leave the restaurant as a result of his disorderly conduct and unruly behavior.”

Shih Lee, owner of SHI restaurant, said in the statement he stepped outside after being informed by his doorman and the couple’s friend, Chris Boscia, of what was happening down the block and by the time he made it down the block the fight was over. During this time, Lee said bystanders told him 9-1-1 had been called and police were on their way.

“At no point during this incident did we refuse to help,” said Lee, in response to reports accusing him and his doorman of denying the couple and their friend reentry into the restaurant after the attack. “I did not learn the full details of the attack until Sunday morning a day after the incident.”


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Suspect wanted in apparent hate crime assault in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect who assaulted a woman in Jackson Heights in another apparent anti-gay hate crime.

On Sunday, March 17 at approximately 4:15 a.m. the suspect approached the 49-year-old victim on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 88th Street and punched her in the face while making anti-gay remarks, said police.

The victim sustained bruising, and redness and swelling to the lip.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 20 to 25 years old, 140 pounds with brown eyes, black hair and a mustache.

According to police, the suspect is known to frequent areas within Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and North Corona.

Police have provided a sketch of the suspect. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is conducting the investigation. 

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Suspects attack man, 70, after asking if he is Muslim or Hindu


| brennison@queenscourier.com

corona assault

Six days after a Muslim was stabbed while opening his local mosque, another religion-based attack took place less than four miles away.

Two suspects approached a 70-year-old man in Corona on Saturday, November 24 at 5:20 a.m. and asked him if he was Muslim or Hindu before proceeding to assault him, according to police.

The victim sustained cuts and bruises to his face and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital. He is in stable condition.

Police described the suspects as Hispanic men in their late teens or early 20s with dark hair.

On Sunday, November 19, Masjid Al-Saaliheen was stabbed as he opened his mosque at 4:45 a.m. Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime.

Police descriptions of the suspects from the two attacks do not match.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Brooklyn man charged for Ridgewood hate crime


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A Brooklyn man who allegedly tased another man in the chest in Ridgewood last month has been charged with a hate crime.

Joseph Desmond, 23, allegedly approached the victim and shocked him  in the chest while spewing anti-gay slurs on September 25 at the intersection of Gates and Fairview avenues, according to the district attorney’s office.

Desmond was charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault, second-degree aggravated harassment and second-degree harassment.

“Crimes of hate — such as this random and senseless attack — will never be tolerated here in Queens County. When they do, regrettably, occur, they will be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Every person has the right to feel safe to walk the streets without being harassed or assaulted based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

 

Racial slurs mar Flushing site


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0519w

A $500 reward is on the table for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perp responsible for spray-painting anti-Asian racial slurs on sites in downtown Flushing, said three of the area’s elected officials.

The word “gook” — a derogatory slang term used to describe Asian people — was branded on the glass window of an empty storefront on Union Street and on the side of a nearby van owned by a Chinese media company on Sunday afternoon, September 9, according to State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

The 31-32 Union Street site, Stavisky said, is the future home of the Queens Public Library Mitchell-Linden branch and the van belongs to the World Journal, one of the largest Chinese-language newspapers in North America.

“This kind of disgusting display of bigotry has no place in our community,” the senator said. “An attack on an Asian-American is an attack on everybody in this community.”

Stavisky, who called Flushing “the birthplace of religious freedom,” said the reward would be given on behalf of Assemblymember Grace Meng, Councilmember Peter Koo and herself.

“It’s a shame that these things still happen in our neighborhoods. We must tell people that we have to live together. We have to abolish some of these old racial sentiments some of us still have,” Koo said.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the incidents, which are believed to be related, Stavisky said. Anyone with information is asked to call the 109th Precinct at 718-321-2250.

Meanwhile, a Korean-American couple — who were described as “chinx” on their Hooters takeout receipt in Fresh Meadows on July 1 — have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain in Brooklyn Federal Court, according to court documents.

Stavisky said the separate incident “shows an attitude that has to change.”

“That is not the way we behave here in New York City,” she said.