Calls for disturbing baseball bat assault on Arab teen to be investigated as racially motivated

25th Sep 2020
Calls for disturbing baseball bat assault on Arab teen to be investigated as racially motivated

Tarek Elsayed after assault (Credit: CAIR-NY)

Elham AsaadBuaras

The baseball bat assault which left an Arab-American teenager in New York City with a broken arm and head injuries was, “an anti-immigrant, anti-Arab, and racially charged,” says a Muslim advocacy group.

Ahmed Mohamed, the Legal Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations New York Chapter CAIR-NY, said the disturbing assault on August 13 was “brazen” and “has no place in our city. No one should be attacked or live in fear because of their race or ethnicity. The assailant made his motives very clear and the New York Police Department (NYPD) needs to open a hate crime investigation.”

Tarek Elsayed, who is of Egyptian origin, was assaulted in Staten Island over a parking spot, say the police who arrested the 18-year-old’s neighbour, Emilio Lopez on the scene. 41-year-old Lopez is charged with assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and harassment, the NYPD said.

According to the victim, he was leaving Dartmouth Loop in his car when the assailant approached him and called him a “sand n***er” then proceeded to puncture his rear passenger tyre. Unbeknown to Elsayed his attacker began walking to his driver side with a baseball bat.

As Elsayed exited his car to check his tyre, the assailant allegedly struck him with a baseball bat in the head and forearm. As Elsayed became disoriented and fell to the ground the assailant reportedly repeatedly attempted to strike him with the bat.

Elsayed was able to get away, though the assailant chased him for a distance. According to CAIR-NY during the assault the assailant told the teenager, “I’ll break your f***ing jaw,” “go back to your country you piece of s**t,” “I know where your friends live,” and “you f***ing sand ni***r.”

CAIR-NY say the suspect also threatened to end Elsayeds life and his friends while they waited for the police, using numerous anti-Arab slurs and telling them to “return to your country.”

According to media reports, the New York Police Department Detective Hubert Reyes said there is no mention of racial epithets in the police report.

However, Elsayed told CNN that he believes he informed police about the epithets. “It hurt,” Elsayed stated about the racial epithets. “It hurt hearing where I originate from being used versus me due to the fact that he doesn’t like it.”

And CAIR-NY called on the attack to be investigated as a hate crime.“The NYPD and District Attorney both must consider all evidence during an investigation and when charging a suspect,” Mohamed told CNN.

“Investigations and charges do not end once a suspect is arrested, and it is routine for prosecutors to add charges once more evidence becomes available to them. There is a plethora of evidence to support a hate crime investigation.”

Lopez’s next court appearance will be on November 16, in Richmond Criminal Court.

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