(NEW YORK, NY, 10/19/17) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the Manhattan District Attorney’s failure to prosecute a September 4 attack on an African-American woman in Manhattan as a hate crime.
According to the victim, Kimberly Halliday, her assailant repeatedly punched her body and head while saying “you’re the devil. . .you’re no good. Black b**ch.”
Despite these statements, the Manhattan District Attorney failed to seek an indictment for the attack as a hate crime. Bennett Smith, 22, has been charged with assault in the third degree, aggravated harassment and attempted assault, all of which are misdemeanors. If prosecuted as a hate crime, Smith could face multiple felony counts, which carry more serious punishments.
“This horrific attack shows how unequally New York City pursues and prosecutes hate crimes,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “We stand with all New Yorkers who want our city live up to that most basic promise: equal justice under law.”
“When we fail to take hate crimes seriously, we not only revictimize the targets of these attacks, but their communities as well,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Time and again, hate crimes against marginalized communities are charged less severely than hate crimes against other victims. This double standard must stop.” CAIR-NY and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.
Earlier this month, CAIR-NY condemned the anti-black, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic letters sent to seven businesses and the Israeli Consulate in New York City.
Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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