A Brooklyn man was indicted by a Queens grand jury for a hate crime assault on a Muslim woman in Queensboro Plaza in February.
Joval Cedeno, 41, of Winthrop Street, was arraigned Wednesday, Oct. 5, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino on a five-count indictment charging him with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for allegedly pursuing and then attacking a Muslim woman inside an N train near the Queensboro Plaza subway station, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
On the morning of Feb. 18, 2022, Cedeno approached the victim soon after she boarded the N train at Queensboro Plaza and engaged her in a verbal dispute, according to the charges. At the time, the woman was wearing a Hijab, a traditional Muslim garment, in addition to loose clothing covering her arms and legs, pursuant to her Muslim religious practice.
Katz said during the verbal dispute, the defendant allegedly hurled expletives at the victim saying, “Why aren’t you wearing a sundress?” He then, according to the charges, hit the victim with a metal pipe on the back of her neck and on her back multiple times.
The woman was transported to an area hospital for treatment.
Additionally, according to the criminal complaint, later that same morning, Cedeno approached a second victim while on the 5 train near the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center train station in Brooklyn. During that incident, the defendant allegedly slapped the victim in the face repeatedly, stating, “Go back to Germany, cracker.”
“As alleged, the defendant was motivated by his own hatred when he attacked the victim, who was wearing a Hijab at the time, based on her physical appearance and perceived ethnicity,” Katz said. “This shameful behavior will not be tolerated in Queens County and I remain committed to holding accountable those who try to undermine the feeling of safety for our vibrant and diverse communities. The defendant has been indicted and faces justice in our courts.”
Justice Cimino ordered the defendant to return to court on Nov. 2. Cedeno faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.