Joseph Jirovec and Kimberly Babajko are two of ten people arrested in an attack that was initiated by a friendly greeting of "Happy Channukah!" aboard a Q train in Brooklyn last week. Both Jirovec and Babajko have criminal records for assaulting minorities and could face hate crime charges in their latest brush with justice. Both are scheduled to appear in Brooklyn Criminal Court today for the vicious beating they allegedly administered to Walter Adler, who was on his way home from a holiday dinner. Adler and his girlfriend were spared further injury when a complete stranger, Hassan Askari, intervened at his own physical expense. The young Muslim man was beaten alongside Adler.
Jirovec, who is the son of a city firefighter currently serving in the military in Iraq, was already on probation after being sentenced in 2006 for pleading guilty to assaulting two black men. His girlfriend, Kim Babajko, was arrested in early September for an attack on two livery cab drivers. It's likely that felony hate crime charges will result in serious jail time for the prior incidents, in addition to whatever sentences they accrue for last week's attack. A third member of the group, Zachary Rogalski, has also been charged in the past for an assault against black men.
Hassan Askari was honored for his act of heroism this week and received a check for $5,000 from lawyer Benjamin Brafman. Askari currently works two jobs as a waiter to pay his way through Berkley College in New York, where he is studying accounting. Rap impressario Russell Simmons was at the benefit dinner for the Center for Ethnic Understanding and had high praise for Askari. "'What you want for yourself is what you give to others. The idea is one that is central to all prophets, all Jews, all Muslims."