Police investigate possible hate crime in Astoria

By Bill Parry

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes unit is investigating a possible bias attack that occurred in Astoria last Wednesday.

A 19-year-old man of Indo-Caribbean origin was walking along 10th Street when three teenagers approached him from behind, police said.

One suspect called him an Arab and punched the victim twice in the face with a closed fist, the police said. A second suspect pulled out a pipe yelling “ISIS-ISIS” while a third had a baseball bat in his hands, according to the NYPD.

The three suspects fled when they realized a bystander was watching the incident, police said.

The victim sustained minor injuries and refused medical attention.

“It’s awful and we’ve made the point that there’s no place for that kind of intolerance in a neighborhood as diverse as Astoria,” Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said. “Any crime is egregious, but hate crimes have no place here. We’ll find the perpetrators and keep this community safe.”

Police say the three suspect are in their late teens.

One is described as a 5-foot-9 white man with a chin strap beard and short black hair, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, black T-shirt, dark colored blue jeans, black pants and black sneakers.

Police describe the second suspect as a white or Hispanic man with short black hair, 5-foot-6 last seen wearing a dark colored two tone sweater with vertical lines, black pants and black sneakers. The third suspect is described by police as a black-Hispanic man, 5-foot-9 with black hair and a beard seen wearing a black hooded sweat jacket with white horizontal stripes, black jeans, grey T-shirt and grey sneakers, according to the NYPD.

There have been no arrests and the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

“This attack is something that is not in character with this neighborhood,” Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “We’ll stand as a neighborhood as one and await the outcome of the investigation by the 114th Precinct and the Hate Crimes Unit. We stand against hatred anywhere.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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