Muslim NYPD officer joins BP Eric Adams, Muslim officers to discuss hate crime

NYPD officer Aml Elsokary, who was the victim of an alleged hate crime along with her 16-year-old son in Bay Ridge on Saturday, December 3, stood with her family, Borough President Eric Adams, members of the NYPD Muslim Officers Society and others in a display of unity and to discuss how to prevent such acts from occurring in the future.

The conference, held at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Monday, December 5, was an emotional moment for Elsokary, an officer at the 90th Precinct who fought back tears while addressing the group.

“I have faith in this department and the borough president has been supportive. As he says, we are one Brooklyn,” she said. “My message to the community is this is not going to be accepted and we are going to stand by the community. I have faith in our justice system that they can’t allow this to happen.”

During the alleged incident, Elsokary — who was off duty — was wearing her hijab when she dropped her son off at Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street around 6 p.m. After parking her car, she stopped a man from shoving her son, who allegedly told her, “ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat, go back to your country!” before fleeing the scene.

The next day, 36-year-old Christopher Nelson was arrested and charged with a hate crime and first-degree aggravated harassment.

Adams found it important that Elsokary was wearing her hijab during the conference. “I think it’s so fitting that she’s here in her hijab,” he said. “Muslim officers are not ISIS because of their religion. They are heroes because of their commitment to serve in the NYPD to protect us from ISIS. Those Muslim officers were on duty protecting the city while their wives and children were being harassed back in their community, but they still served.”

Adams also called for a commitment from district attorneys throughout the city that no person arrested for a hate crime that brings about any form of violence due to a person’s religious beliefs, lifestyle or ethnicity should be allowed to plea bargain down to a lesser charge.

“It’s important because if a person is charged with simple assault and  a hate crime, and he pleas bargains down to just a simple assault, [the hate crime] is no longer on his record, and he could subsequently become a police officer, a firefighter, a teacher, and, not knowing what he holds in his heart, he is able to continue to carry out these deeds without anyone else knowing his past of harming someone because of their religion or beliefs,” he said.

Elsokary, who described her son’s reaction as frightened, revealed what she told him after the incident. “I said that we have Allah and he’s going to help us through this hard time,” she said, also offering advice to others in the same position. “My advice is not to be scared because it’s not isolated. Call 911.”

In 2014, Elsokary was honored as a hero after she and her partner rushed into a burning building and carried a baby to safety.

Local elected officials sounded off on the situation throughout the weekend. “Bay Ridge is extremely proud to call NYPD Officer Aml Elsokary one of our own,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “While the current political climate seems to have given false permission to unveil racist and vile comments, be it known that this great city, the melting pot of the world, will not fall victim to this disgusting behavior.”

“We will not allow such hatred and intolerance in our community, which has a long history of acceptance of all,” noted State Senator Marty Golden in a Facebook post. “We are a neighborhood of many nations, ethnicities and religions, and that is what makes us the greatest community in the city.”

“Biased-motivated crimes will not be tolerated anywhere in Brooklyn and those who commit hate crimes will be held accountable for their reprehensible and offensive actions,” Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez after  Nelson’s arraignment.

“Our neighborhood has always been a home to everyone from everywhere and we stand with New Yorkers in abhorrence and rejection of bigotry in all its manifestations,” the Bay Ridge Democrats said in a statement.

Elsokary was grateful to have people stand united with her. “It means a lot to have the BP, the Muslim Society, my husband and family here,” she said. “It shows that what real New Yorkers are. No matter the situation, we will always stand together.”

Adams also stated that he plans to bring Muslim officers to Trump Tower to ask to talk to President-elect Donald Trump. “I’m taking them so he can see first hand what his negative rhetoric is doing to America and we’re going to ask him to sit down and send a strong message that this is a country of tolerance and acceptance, and will not accept mothers and their children being harassed because of their religion,” he said.



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