A 45-year-old man was charged with a hate crime after a Palestinian-American civil rights activist said he allegedly harassed and attacked her, chasing her through her Brooklyn neighborhood and threatening to cut off her head. Marc Santia reports. (Published Monday, Sep 8, 2014)
A 45-year-old man was charged with a hate crime after a Palestinian-American civil rights activist said he allegedly harassed and attacked her, chasing her through her Brooklyn neighborhood and threatening to cut off her head.
Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said that the man harassed her and and a coworker as they walked out of the association's headquarters in Bay Ridge on Wednesday.
She said the man threatened them, saying, "you are cutting people's heads off ... I'm going to cut off your head and see how your people will feel," before hurling a trash can at them.
Neither woman was injured in the incident.
“It’s a surreal feeling when you are advocating for victims of hate crimes and end up being the target of one yourself,” Sarsour said in a previous tweet.
Sarsour said that she called 911 about the harassment, but officers didn’t arrive on scene for about 45 minutes. In the Facebook post about the incident, she said she had to run to a nearby bagel store to find police officers.
Other officers later responded to the scene, Sarsour said, and arrested Brian Boshell after a brief search. Boshell faces hate crime charges.
Police said the suspect has a violent past and was once arrested for swinging a meat hook at people near the location of the latest alleged attack.
"He needs help," said Sarsour. "And at that moment I don't care if he has mental issues. I don't care if he uses substances. That is not an excuse to put people's lives in danger."
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the department is looking into the alleged delay in police response.
--Jonathan Dienst and Marc Santia contributed to this report
Published at 5:18 AM EDT on Sep 5, 2014