The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating a bias incident in Astoria that occurred last week when a man swung an umbrella at a woman after telling her to go back to her country.
Jean Aviles, 69, was walking home past the Key Food supermarket on 31st Street near Ditmars Boulevard March 1 when a white man in his 60s began shouting at her to leave the United States.
“Get the f--k out of my country, you should be deported, I should shoot you,” the man screamed at Aviles, who is of Puerto Rican decent, according to an NYPD spokesman.
The attacker began to swing an umbrella at her, cutting her finger, police said. Aviles fought back with an umbrella of her own and as a crowd gathered the man fled into the subway system, according to the NYPD.
Aviles refused medical attention. The attacker, who was wearing a green jacket and beige pants, remains at large, police say.
“It makes me feel degraded,” Aviles told News 4, adding that the man “didn’t look like a hardened criminal.”
She also had a message for her attacker.
“Go get your head examined, because you have to be a real nut to carry this type of hate around you, because everyone has a right to be somewhere,” she said.
Hate crimes in New York City are up 55 percent during the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2016, according to the NYPD. Astoria’s elected officials were outraged by the attack.
“This despicable attack has no place in our city -- or anywhere. Now more than ever, we must stand united for tolerance and respect,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said in a joint statement. “All New Yorkers, including our immigrant communities, deserve the opportunity to walk our streets safely and without being viciously harassed or assaulted because of the way they look. Our nation was founded by immigrants and they continue to be an integral part of the American fabric. As hate crimes have risen over the past year we reaffirm our belief in justice and cooperation, and stand united with our community against hate and bigotry.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr
©2017 Community News Group
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