East Harlem Deli Clerk Punched in Face in Apparent Hate Crime: NYPD

What to Know

  • An East Harlem deli clerk claims he was punched by a customer who asked if was Arab
  • According to police, the attack is enough for them to classify it as a hate crime
  • Surveillance video shows the assault inside the Green Olive Deli on East 116th Street; cops want help in identifying the suspect

A deli clerk in Manhattan says he was attacked by a customer who asked if he was Arab and claims his answer was met with a punch.

Surveillance video shows the assault inside the Green Olive Deli on East 116th Street in East Harlem. A man approaches the counter, and once he has the clerk's attention, the clerk says the man asked him a question.

"He asked me if I was Arabic and I said, 'Yes,' and as soon as I said yes, he punched me in the face," said the victim, who wanted to remain anonymous. 

According to police, the attack is enough for them to classify it as a hate crime. 

"We are the same people. I think something happened to this guy but I don't know. I don't know what else to say," said the victim, who's never seen the attacker before.

The clerk says he's fine and has some swelling on the face.

Police are asking for the public's help identifying the suspect, who cops described as a bald man with a beard. 

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