Despite testimony that the attacker hurled Islamophobic slurs at the victims, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced yesterday (July 4) that it would not investigate last weekend’s assault of two Muslim teens outside a Brooklyn mosque as a hate crime.
“The hate crimes unit investigated it and determined that this incident is not a hate crime,” said an NYPD spokesperson to the New York Daily News. The NYPD also told the Daily News that the two young men who were attacked early Sunday (July 3) morning were hitting on a woman in a parked car when her boyfriend emerged and came after them. It’s an account that differs from what Mohamed Bahe, the mosque’s director, told Buzzfeed later that day:
We had two volunteers, and they saw a suspicious car parked outside of our entrance. They looked at the car, trying to figure out who’s inside. They saw a woman and they asked if she needed help. Then all of a sudden a guy comes across running from the street and punches him and knocks him down. He was stomping him and kicking him.
Bahe also said that the assailant yelled, “You fucking terrorist,” while beating one of the boys. Per Buzzfeed, an NYPD spokesperson said that hate crimes unit personnel spoke to the two teens, “who said the suspect didn’t say anything anti-Muslim to them.” Bahe called that assertion “a blatant cover-up,” saying that not only did the NYPD not fulfill prior requests for mosque protection, but that officers only interviewed one of the teens.
Buzzfeed also shared video footage that it says documents the assault via a nearby surveillance camera.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) New York chapter echoed calls for hate crime investigation in a Facebook post published yesterday:
Police told the Daily News that they are still investigating the incident and looking for a suspect.