Tag Archives: nypd hate crime unit

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.

Police release sketch of suspect who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Police have released a sketch of the suspect they believe is responsible for throwing Molotov cocktails at four locations in Queens on New Year’s Day.

Between 8-10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, the suspect threw four lit Molotov cocktails at different locations throughout Queens, police said.  The homemade bombs caused fire and property damage, though no injuries have been reported.

“No matter what the motivation was of the individual who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens, his actions stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we’ve built together,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Unit is investigating the attack.

The mayor is scheduled to meet with religious leaders today at the Imam Al-Khoie Islamic Center, one of the locations the suspect struck.

The other locations were at 179-46 Hillside Avenue, 146-62 107th Avenue and 88-20 170th Street.

Police described the suspect as 5-feet-8-inches tall, weighing 200-pounds and between the ages of 25-30.  The suspect was seen driving a light-colored, four-door sedan.

A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the crime.  Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.