On Saturday, at 6 p.m., 11 year veteran NYPD officer Aml Elsokary was getting out of her car on Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street when she noticed a man verbally harassing, and then pushing, her 16-year-old son. She quickly ran over and intervened, at which point the man became irate and screamed a variety of Islamophobic remarks at Officer Elsokary, including, “Go back to your country,” and, “You ISIS bitch I’m going to slit your throat, you think this is a fucking joke?” according to police.
The man then fled.
Yesterday, police found and arrested him. Also a Bay Ridge resident, the assailant has been identified as 36-year-old Christopher Nelson, a Bay Ridge resident. He has been charged with menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harrasment.
Also Bay Ridge resident, Officer Elsokary is a proud Muslim who wears her Hijab to work in Williamsburg’s 90th Precinct. In 2014, she ran into a burning building, helping to save the lives of a young girl and her grandmother.
“Two years ago, Officer Elsokary personified courage when she saved a grandmother and baby from a perilous fire. Last night this man personified cowardice when he attacked Officer Elsokary and her 16-year-old son,” Council Member Vincent Gentile said of the incident.
This most recent racist attack comes at a time when hate crimes are on the rise throughout New York and across the country. Indeed, according to the most recent NYPD statistics hate crimes have jumped 30 percent this year.
In a meeting regarding November crime statistics held on Monday at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio voiced that he had felt nausea when he heard the news of Elsokary being verbally harassed, her son assaulted.
“Well, this is Officer Elsokary’s country,” Mayor de Blasio said, “She’s already at home and we cannot allow this kind of hatred and bias to spread. We have to stop it every single time.”
De Blasio went on to note that there are currently 900 Muslim-Americans serving as members of the NYPD.
“This is an example of what we will do every time we see an act of bias and hatred,” de Blasio went on, referring to the swift arrest of Nelson.
Following de Blasio’s remarks, Police Commissioner James O’Neill recalled meeting Officer Elsokary in the emergency room at Woodhull Hospital two years ago, following her heroic feat, where she was being treated for smoke inhalation.
“If anybody is thinking – in New York City – about engaging this type of behavior just, rest assured,” O’Neil said, “that you will be identified and you will be arrested and you will be charged accordingly.”