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Entries in Hate Crime (18)

Sunday
May192013

New York City Man Killed in Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police say a deadly shooting that took place in Greenwich Village Saturday was an anti-gay hate crime.

32-year-old Harlem resident Marc Carson and his companion were just blocks from the famous Stonewall Inn when a group approached them, making anti-gay slurs.

Police say that one member of the group, Elliot Morales, asked the two men if they were “gay wrestlers," and later asked “do you want to die here?"

Morales then pulled out a gun and shot Carson in the face, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. He died in the hospital soon afterwards.

An officer arrested Morales a few blocks away from where the shooting took place.

This is the latest in a series of bias attacks on gay men in the area, and police are investigating to see if there is any connection between this incident and earlier ones.

“It's a really sad affair,” said Sean Williams, a friend of Carson.

“I mean, come on. This is 2013. Who's killing people for being gay nowadays?”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec302012

NYC Subway Push Killing: Woman Charged With Murder

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A woman who allegedly told New York City police she pushed a man onto the subway tracks because she hated Hindus and Muslims has been charged with murder as a hate crime.

Erica Menendez, 31, allegedly told police that she "pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up."

Menendez was taken into custody Saturday morning after a two-day search, and when detectives were interviewing her she allegedly made the statements implicating herself in Thursday night's subway-platform death.

"The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter's worst nightmare -- being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train," Queen District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. "The victim was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant's actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society."

Menendez was due to be arraigned Saturday evening. She could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the second degree murder charge.

On Thursday night, a woman shoved a man from a subway platform at Queens Boulevard, and the man was crushed beneath an oncoming train. Police had searched the area for her after the incident.

The victim was Sunando Sen, identified by several media outlets as a graphic designer and Indian immigrant who opened a print shop, Amsterdam Copy, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Sen was struck by the No. 7 train after the unidentified woman allegedly pushed him from the northbound platform at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard at 8:04 p.m. on Thursday.

Witnesses told police they had seen the woman mumbling to herself, pacing along the platform. She gave Sen little time to react, witnesses said.

"Witnesses said she was walking back and forth on the platform, talking to herself, before taking a seat alone on a wooden bench near the north end of the platform. When the train pulled into the station, the suspect rose from the bench and pushed the man, who was standing with his back to her, onto the tracks into the path of the train," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said earlier today. "The victim appeared not to notice her, according to witnesses."

Police released brief surveillance video of the woman fleeing the subway station, and described the suspect as a woman in her 20s, "heavy set, approximately 5'5" with brown or blond hair."

It was New York's second death of this kind in less than a month. On Dec. 3, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han of Queens was shoved onto the tracks at New York's Times Square subway station. Two days later, police took 30-year-old Naeem Davis into custody.

On Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked whether the attack might be related to the increase of mentally ill people on the streets following closures of institutions over the past four decades.

"The courts or the law have changed and said, no, you can't do that unless they're a danger to society. Our laws protect you," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Husband Arrested in Murder of Iraqi-American Mom, Family Called It a Hate Crime

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(EL CAJON, Calif.) -- The husband of an Iraqi-American mother whose family called her death a hate crime was charged with homicide Friday, nearly eight months after his wife's murder.

Police arrested Kassim Alhimidi, 48, of El Cajon, Calif., Thursday for the murder of his 32-year-old wife, Shaima Alawadi, according to ABC News affiliate KGO.

Alawadi's family called her death a hate crime after she was found beaten in her living room with a note calling her "a terrorist." The murder sent shockwaves through El Cajon, which is home to one of the nation's largest concentrations of Iraqi immigrants.

Alawadi was found by her 17-year-old daughter, who said she and her mother were the only ones home on the morning of March 21, when she heard her mother squeal and the sound of glass breaking. She said she found her mother bloodied, with the note nearby, which also told the family "to go home."

Police said at the time that Alhimidi, the woman's husband, claimed to have been out of the house, taking the couple's younger children to school when the murder occurred.

Fatima Alhimidi, the 17-year-old who found Alawadi, told news reporters the crime must have been motivated by hatred. She said the family had received a similar note a week earlier in which they were told to go home to their own country but had dismissed it as a prank.

El Cajon police, however, said early on that although the possibility of a hate crime had been suggested to them, they believed it was an isolated incident and the area's Iraqi-American population should not fear similar crimes directed at it.

Alhimidi is now charged with first-degree murder for Alawadi's death, according to KGO.

Search warrants viewed by KGO revealed that divorce papers had been found in Alawadi's car but had not been filled out.

Kassim Alhimidi is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug292012

Jewish Michigan Student Attack Not Hate Crime, Cops Say

Design Pics/Thinkstock(LANSING, Mich.) -- A Michigan college student who claimed he was attacked and his mouth stapled because he was Jewish has been contradicted by police who say the fight might have been about a girl.

Michigan State University student Zachary Tennen was attacked by two other students at an off-campus party on Saturday, according to police. Tennen, 19, told ABC News affiliate WXYZ that he was taunted about being Jewish before the men became physical with him.

“They mentioned that they’re Nazis and they’re in the KKK,” Tennen said. “They came up behind me and punched me across the jaw. They knocked me unconscious and I found a staple in me after.”

Tennen took a taxi to a hospital, where doctors found a staple in his mouth before wiring his broken jaw shut.

Police in East Lansing, Mich., however, said Tuesday that they did not believe the attack was a hate crime, and privately told the Tennens that they believed the fight was over a girl.

Police said in a statement released to ABC News that they had interviewed two witnesses and identified a suspect, though the incident was still under investigation.

Tennen’s father, Bruce Tennen, told WXYZ that he disagrees with the police, and that his son talked to very few girls at the party and had never had a long-term girlfriend.

“I think this is a heinous crime and it sickens me,” Bruce Tennen said, adding that if police arrest and charge someone just with assault, he will hire his own lawyer and try to pursue an ethnic intimidation or hate crime in federal court.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Michigan Student Says Lips Were Stapled Shut Because He Was Jewish

Design Pics/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) -- A 19-year-old college student who was attending a party near Michigan State University early Sunday morning said he was beaten and his lips were stapled together after his attackers asked if he was Jewish, according to police.

Zachary Tennen told police that while he was at a party in East Lansing, Mich., two men punched him after he told them he was Jewish when they asked.

Tennen’s mother told the Indianapolis Star newspaper that the two men raised their arms “in a Nazi salute, chanting ‘Heil Hitler,’” before attacking Tennen. They then allegedly stapled his lips together, forcing a staple into his gums, according to the report.

Tennen told police that the men also said they were part of the Klu Klux Klan, according to Michigan State University’s school newspaper, The State.

According to that report, Tennen awoke from being knocked out and took a cab to a local hospital. He notified East Lansing police of the incident later Sunday morning.

The Tennens did not return calls from ABC News for comment.

According to the Indianapolis Star report, Tennen is now recuperating from surgery at home in Oakland County, Mich.

Despite Tannen's claims, the East Lansing police department said in a statement to ABC News Tuesday that they do not believe the assault was a hate crime. Police said they had interviewed two witnesses and identified a potential suspect, and the investigation was ongoing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Police Accuse Nebraska Woman of Faking Anti-Gay Hate Crime

City of Lincoln Police Department(LINCOLN, Neb.) -- A Nebraska woman was arrested for faking an anti-gay hate crime in which she claimed three masked men bound her, cut words into her skin and spray-painted slurs on her wall before setting her house on fire.

Charlie Rogers, 33, had told police that the three assailants broke into her Lincoln, Neb., home on July 22.

Rogers, a lesbian and a former University of Nebraska women's basketball star, became a face for anti-gay hate crimes after the alleged attack.

Reports of the alleged assault outraged the gay community, and hundreds of people participated in rallies outside the Nebraska capitol building, and at a park in Omaha.

But now police have charged Rogers with false reporting, disclosing evidence that contradicts her story and points to a faked attack.

Police found white gloves, a box cutter and zip ties in Rogers' home. She had originally told investigators that the gloves were the only item left behind by her attackers, and that they did not belong to her.

But Lincoln police learned that Rogers had visited Ace Hardware in Lincoln on July 17 and purchased the same three items. When confronted about the supplies, Rogers admitted to buying all of them except the gloves, which she said were not hers, according to police.

But DNA evidence suggested otherwise.

"The University of Nebraska Medical Center found DNA evidence that matched Ms. Rogers' inside the gloves that were left at the scene of the crime," Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong said at a news conference Tuesday.

"There were no male DNA markers found inside the gloves," he said.

Peschong said that Rogers had no explanation for why her DNA would be in the gloves.

The day after her visit to the hardware store, Rogers posted the following message on her Facebook page: "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me."

Peschong also said that the circumstances surrounding the cuts on Rogers' body aroused suspicion.

"The cuttings on Ms. Rogers arms were either self-inflicted or she had allowed someone to do them," he said. "The lines were too straight to be accomplished during a struggle, and ... the cuts were all in areas where the victim could have inflicted them herself."

The cuts produced some blood, Peschong said, but that investigators found no blood on Rogers' bedspread. He also said that Rogers had told police that her two dogs were passive during the alleged attack, but Peschong said that the dogs were "fairly aggressive" toward officers investigating the scene.

Police arrested Rogers on Tuesday afternoon and charged her with false reporting. She pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance, or in lieu of bail.

Rogers' attorney, Brett McArthur, did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment Thursday.

Peschong said that the case would not affect the police department's trust in crime victims.

"Criminal incidents, especially hate crimes, are unique and viewed as such," he said. "We do not want crime victims to hesitate reporting crimes in the future."

Rogers' next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 14. The false reporting charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr102012

Trayvon Martin Case Becomes Rallying Point for Racists

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- In Detroit, far from the Florida town where black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, drivers were shocked to see an electronic highway sign with the word "Trayvon" followed by a racial slur.

The sign's offensive message Sunday night was quickly taken down, but it was the latest incident in which racists, neo-Nazis or white supremacists have used the controversial case as a rallying point.

Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was shot by George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain.

The shooting has spawned outrage in the black community, with protests and demands that Zimmerman be arrested for murder.

But Zimmerman claims the shooting had nothing to do with race, and that he shot Martin in self defense after the teenager knocked him down, slammed his head into the ground and went for Zimmerman's gun.

In the weeks after the shooting, outraged supporters of the Martin family held rallies and protests demanding that Zimmerman be arrested.  Electronic roadside signs had been used throughout Central Florida to alert people to the rallies.

And the New Black Panther Party offered a $10,000 bounty for Zimmerman.

A backlash has been growing, though, with distinct racist undertones.

At Ohio State University last week, the words "Long Live Zimmerman" were scrawled across the side of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, a part of the university's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

"It's a hate crime," Larry Williamson Jr., director of the Hale center, told ABC News.  "Some people see it as just graffiti but if you see something done in such a negative way, you're going to have a community that feels hate."

In Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, the specter of racism is ubiquitous.  A group of armed neo-Nazis from the National Socialist Movement have descended upon the town, touting their intention to patrol the town to protect whites against a race riot.

The Rev. Terry Jones, the controversial pastor who once threatened to burn copies of the Koran, announced last week his plan to hold a rally on April 21 at the Seminole County Courthouse in support of Zimmerman and his constitutional rights.

And reporters covering the emotionally charged story have been inundated with angry tweets and social media messages, with some of the messages verging on threats.

Capt. Robert O'Connor of the Sanford Police Department told ABC News, "Law enforcement agencies in the area are monitoring a variety of activities and groups to ensure that conditions remain peaceful."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

Tulsa Shooting: Suspects' Bond Set at $9.1 Million Each

Alvin Watts (L) and Jacob England (R). Tulsa Police Department(TULSA COUNTY, Okla.) -- Two Tulsa men arrested in connection with a shooting spree that left three black people dead and two critically injured made their initial court appearance Monday morning and were ordered by a judge to be held on $9.1 million bonds each.

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, appeared in an Oklahoma court via a closed circuit video from the Tulsa County Jail, according to ABC News' Tulsa affiliate KTUL.  Neither man had an attorney present. Police have not yet determined which man was the alleged shooter, according to KTUL.

England and Watts were arrested at a house north of Tulsa around 2 a.m. on Sunday after the series of deadly shootings. The five victims were shot early Friday morning in four separate incidents during a span of less than two hours on the same side of town and not far from one another, police said.

Police identified the deceased victims as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31. There was no connection between the suspects and victims, police said at a news conference on Sunday.

Two males were critically wounded in the shooting spree. All of the victims were targeted while they were out walking, and apparently did not know each other.

Police say their investigation will include Jake England's racially charged Facebook postings, although they say it's premature to describe the incident as a hate crime. The shootings occurred nearly two years to the day after a black man shot England's father to death, according to his Facebook posting.

England and Watts are scheduled to be back in court on April 16.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

Facebook Clues in Tulsa Shooting Spree

Alvin Watts (L) and Jacob England (R). Tulsa Police Department(TULSA, Okla.) -- Police say their investigation of the deadly shooting spree in Tulsa, Okla., will include the racially charged Facebook postings of a man arrested Sunday morning in connection with the attacks, although they say it's premature to describe the incident as a hate crime.

Two white men were arrested in connection with the random attacks that left three black pedestrians dead and two in critical condition last Friday, police said.

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, were arrested at a house north of Tulsa around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and are expected to be charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill, according to officials.

"I'm just really amazed at how quickly we were able to apprehend these two subjects," Task force commander Maj. Walter Evans said at a news conference on Sunday.  "But there are still a whole lot of unanswered questions that we have to have answered."

The shootings occurred nearly two years to the day after a black man shot England's father to death, according to his Facebook posting.

But the FBI's James Finch, who was part of the task force handling the case, on Sunday called it "very premature to talk about hate crimes.  We have yet to analyze all the information to understand the motivations of the subjects in this case."

Although police were reluctant to call the killings a hate crime, others were less so.

"Somebody that committed these crimes were very upset with black people," Tulsa Councilman Jack Henderson said on Sunday.  "That person happened to be a white person.  The people they happened to kill and shoot were black people.  That fits the bill for me.  That's a personal feeling."

The five men were shot early Friday morning in four separate incidents during a span of less than two hours on the same side of town and not far from one another, police said.

Police identified the dead men as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.  There was no connection between the suspects and victims, police said at a news conference on Sunday.

Two males were critically wounded in the shooting spree.  All of the victims were targeted while they were out walking, and apparently did not know each other.

"We have not been able to find any commonality between the victims other than they were walking on the street," Sgt. Dave Walker of the Tulsa Police Department said.

One of the victims who survived the attack described the shooter as a white male in a white pick-up truck, a detail that proved critical in finding and arresting the suspects.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr052012

Iraqi Hate Crime Murder Probe Raises Questions About Daughter, Husband

ABC News(EL CAJON, Calif.) -- Police investigating the murder of an Iraqi mother in southern California, initially thought to be a hate crime, have filed papers with a court that suggest the mother had a difficult relationship with her daughter and her husband.

The beating death last month of Shaima Alawadi, 32, of El Cajon, shook the Iraqi-American community when her family reported that a note was found next to Alawadi's body, reportedly saying "go back to your own country, you terrorist."

Alawadi's 17-year-old daughter, Fatima, told police that a similar note had been found a week prior to the murder, but the mother thought of it as a joke and threw it away. Court documents now show that the note was a copy of an original, and the earlier note has never been seen.

The family, including Fatima and Alawadi's husband, are now in Iraq, where they went for Alawadi's burial.

According to court documents obtained by ABC News affiliate KGTV, the daughter received a text message while she was being interviewed by investigators that read, "The detective will find out tell them cnt (can't) talk."

Fatima, who was reportedly the only one home with her mother when the attack happened, had a troubled relationship with her mother, the documents show. In November, police had contacted Alawadi after finding Fatima having sex with a 21-year-old man in a parked car. Alawadi had picked her daughter up from the scene, but Fatima then jumped out of her mother's car going 35 mph, the documents state.

Fatima was also distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin, according to the documents.

The investigation into Alawadi's death revealed that a neighbor reported seeing a dark-skinned teenager or 20-something man running away from Alawadi's house around the time of her death, carrying a donut-shaped cardboard box. Police searched the home of the man Fatima was found having sex with months earlier, and took items from his home as part of the investigation, according to the U-T San Diego newspaper.

Alawadi was also planning to divorce her husband, according to a search warrant in the case. Divorce papers were found in Alawadi's car, and a relative told police Alawadi was planning to divorce husband Kassim Alhimidi and move to join her mother and siblings in Texas.

In January, Alawadi had contacted the El Cajon police department to report her daughter Fatima missing, but cancelled the report two hours later after locating her daughter, according to U-T San Diego.

Fatima was the most outspoken member of the family in the wake of Alawadi's death, telling police and reporters that she found her mother bloodied and with head wounds around 11:15 a.m. on March 21. Fatima told police she had been upstairs, and heard her mother squeal before hearing glass break 10 seconds later. When she discovered her mother was wounded, she called 911.

"You're an animal, you're not even an animal," Fatima yelled into a news camera shortly after her mother's beating, addressing her mother's killer. "You took my mother away from me, you took my best friend away from me. Why? Why did you do it, that's all I want to know.  Answer me that."

Alawadi's husband had taken the couple's other children to school earlier that morning, according to police, although the U-T San Diego reported Wednesday that his whereabouts had not yet been confirmed.

The autopsy of Alawadi's body showed that the beating was "extremely violent" and included at least six hits to the head, with at least four skull fractures, according to the newspaper report. Autopsy records noted that the injuries may have been caused by an object similar to a tire iron.

Though the police said they would look into the possibility of whether the murder was a hate crime, they quickly assured the Iraqi community in El Cajon that the killing was seemingly an isolated incident and that no residents had any reason to believe they were in danger.

The family traveled to Baghdad, Iraq, where Alwadi's father is a Shia cleric, last week. Phone calls to the El Cajon police department about the family's plans to return to the U.S. were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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