By Gina Martinez
A Massachusetts man who allegedly attacked and told a Muslim Delta employee “Trump is here now, he will get rid of all of you” has been indicted on hate crime charges, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last week.
Robin Rhodes, 57, of Worcester, Mass.,was arraigned on four charges of hate crimes, including assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and aggravated harassment, in the Jan. 25 incident at John F. Kennedy Airport, according to the DA. Rhodes, who was released on $50,000 bond/ $30,000 cash bail, faces up to four years in prison if convicted, Brown said.
“The defendant is accused of physically and verbally attacking a woman for no apparent reason other than because of her religion,” Brown said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated in Queens County and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
According to the charges, a Delta employee who wears a hijab was sitting in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge in Terminal 2, Jan. 25 when Rhodes, who was waiting for a connecting flight to Massachusetts, allegedly came up to the door and said “Are you f—ing sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” Rhodes then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of the victim’s chair, the criminal complaint said.
When the victim asked Rhodes what she had done to him, he acknowledged that she had done nothing but then allegedly kicked her in the right leg, Brown said.
The victim moved to a corner of the office to get away from him. However, Rhodes allegedly kicked the door, stepped into the office and blocked her from leaving, the DA said.
When someone came to the office and tried to calm Rhodes down, he moved away from the door and the victim ran out of the office to the lounge’s front desk, Brown said. Rhodes allegedly followed her and got down on his knees and began to bow down in imitation of a praying Muslim and shouted epithets about Islam and ISIS, according to the complaint.
“Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens,” he said, according to the complaint.
The victim suffered substantial pain and redness in her right leg as a result of Rhodes’ alleged actions.
According to the complaint, as Rhodes was arrested he told officers said, “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.”
Rhodes is set to return to court Jun. 12, DA Brown said.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart