A Marine Park family was attacked last Sunday by a self-professed Marine who targeted them because they're immigrants from Pakistan. According to the Brooklyn DA, Andrew Laina, 29, approached Marine Park mom Shabana Chaudhry as she pushed a stroller with her 2-year-old son through a park at Avenue S and East 32nd Street. Chaudhry was wearing a traditional hijab and kameez gown, which apparently infuriated Laina, who allegedly asked her, "Where is your husband? What are you doing here?"
Chaudhry tried to ignore Laina and continue walking, but Laina allegedly blocked her way. Chaudhry's husband, Muhammad Rizwan, was nearby and intervened, at which point Laina allegedly yelled, "What are you doing in my neighborhood? Get out, you Arab!" Prosecutors say Laina then punched Rizwan multiple times in the chest, knocking him to the ground and causing "bruises, cuts, abrasions," and "substantial pain."
Laina then allegedly tried to abduct the couple's child from the stroller, screaming, "Hey, you got a beef? Is there a beef? Do you want more of that? Make sure you take your family back to Afghanistan!" Rizwan and Chaudhry are Pakistani immigrants.
The broad daylight attack terrified Chaudhry, who is nine months pregnant. She tells the Daily News, "It was really scary. He wasn’t fighting with anyone else, but he wouldn’t leave us alone." According to court records obtained by the News, Laina has pleaded guilty to petty crimes "at least five times over the past two years, doing a few weeks in jail at most."
The NYPD tells us that Laina, who lives a few blocks from the park, was arrested a half hour after the assault. He's charged with assault and harassment as a hate crime, as well as menacing and endangering the welfare of a child. During his arrest, Laina allegedly told cops, "We should work together. I am not the enemy. They are the terrorists. I am a Marine, I was in Iraq, I killed 14 people."
Councilmember Alan Maisel, who represents Marine Park, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.