New York police arrested a Brooklyn man on charges that he shoved the teenage son of an off-duty Muslim police officer and threatened to slit her throat.
According to the NYPD, Officer Aml Elsokary saw a man pushing her 16-year-old son and yelling at him early Saturday evening. When she went to intervene, the man called her an “ISIS (expletive)” and said, “I will cut your throat. Go back to your country!”
The New York Daily News reported that the man ordered his pit bull to attack the mother and son, but the dog didn’t do anything.
After a police review of security camera footage, Christopher Nelson, 36, was arrested Sunday and was charged with menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated assault.
Elsokary was at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s side at a press conference this morning to discuss city crime statistics.
“I have said many times, and I’ll keep saying it, that there are not enough people who know there are 900 Muslim-Americans serving the people of New York City on our police force… who every day put their lives on the line for all of us — put their lives on the line for Christians, for Jews, for Hindus, for Muslims, for everybody. And I was sick to my stomach when I heard that one of our officers was subjected to threats and taunting simply because of her faith,” de Blasio said.
“It makes no difference to me whether she was off-duty or on-duty at the time. She serves this city. She is an example of everything we would want from our fellow citizens — a commitment to others, a commitment to service, a willingness to do something greater than herself, and what does she get for it? Threats to her life and bigotry, taunts. We can’t allow this. It’s unacceptable in this city, it’s unacceptable in this nation.”
De Blasio, who highlighted a 2014 incident in which Elsokary saved a grandmother and baby from a burning building, said the officer was at the presser because it’s “important to put a human face to this story.”
Elsokary, who was born and raised in New York, said she became a cop to show “the positive side of a New York, a Muslim woman, that can do the job, that is non-biased, that I help everybody no matter what’s your religion, what’s your faith, what you do in New York.”
The officer thanked the department that has “stuck by my side” in her decision to wear a hijab on the job.
“Think of what we value in this city and in this nation. We value people who put on a uniform and protect us. We value people who have a faith and live it out. And she has done all of those things,” de Blasio said. “And it’s absolutely unacceptable that she or anyone would be treated with hatred or bigotry.”
The mayor added that the accused man perhaps not knowing she was a police officer “makes the point even stronger… every single one of them is our fellow American and worthy of our respect.”
He encouraged New Yorkers to “help us stamp out hate” by reporting “an act of hate” and violent incidents.
“If anyone’s thinking in New York City about engaging in this type of behavior, rest assured that you will be identified, you will be arrested and you will be charged accordingly,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “There’s no place for that in New York City.”