A Brooklyn man allegedly yelled xenophobic insults at an off-duty Muslim NYPD officer and her teenage son, police sources said.
An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist that the officer was dropping off her 16-year-old son on Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street in Bay Ridge on Saturday around 6 p.m. After the officer parked her car, she saw a man shoving her son. Police said the man was in his 30s.
She approached the man—but did not identify herself as a police officer—who told her "ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat, go back to your country!" The suspect fled the scene, and the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident as a bias crime.
Reports of hate crimes have increased drastically over the past year. As of November 13th, 328 hate crimes had been committed in the city in 2016, compared to 250 during the same period in 2015.
On Wednesday, an 18-year-old Muslim girl was allegedly attacked on the subway by three men who yelled Donald Trump's name at her, called her a terrorist, and tried to remove her hijab. The girl later said on Facebook that no one intervened "while watching me get harassed verbally and physically." In November, swastikas and "go Trump" were spray painted on playground equipment in Adam Yauch Park Brooklyn.
According to police, there have been 25 hate crimes against Muslims and 111 against Jews as of November 13th, compared to 12 and 102 in 2015, respectively. Hate crimes are among the only crimes that have increased in the city in recent years—overall crime has decreased 50 percent since 1998.
The Daily News identified the officer as Aml Elsokary, a decorated 90th Precinct officer who was celebrated as a hero after she ran into a burning building to save an elderly man and a baby girl in 2014. The NYPD could not confirm to Gothamist whether Elsokary was the officer who was attacked on Saturday.
"Officer Elsokary was a hero long before that remarkable day," Mayor de Blasio said at a 2014 dinner at Gracie Mansion celebrating Ramadan Iftar. Elsokary reportedly joined the NYPD shortly after 9/11 to "show people that the terrible acts of the day contradicted the teachings of Islam," de Blasio said.
"As both a Muslim and a native New Yorker, she knew she needed to get involved."
If you witness a hate crime, don't just watch—intervene. If you see someone being harassed, a safe way to de-escalate the situation is to engage them instead of the person who is harassing them. You can report hate crimes to the local police precinct and to the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force.