The lawyer for a Bangladeshi-American assault victim has released surveillance footage showing a man beat up his client on the streets of New York City, in an allegedly unprovoked attack. The victim has asked prosecutors to charge his assailant with hate crime.
Gazi Rahman, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Bangladesh 18 years ago, was talking on the phone outside a grocery store on May 7 when a stranger, identified as Christopher Porr, asked him for money. When the 46-year-old Queens resident declined, Porr responded by punching him in the face after allegedly yelling “f*** Indians.”
The video, captured by the NYPD’s own camera, shows Rahman trying to defend himself but Porr’s punch knocks him down on the pavement.
When police arrived at the scene, the officers arrested both men for third-degree assault — even though Glen Rozado, who had witnessed the attack, tried to explain that Porr had screamed a racial slur before attacking Rahman.
“The video shows Mr. Rahman being a law-abiding citizen, doing nothing wrong, and all of the sudden being attacked by a large man later identified as Christopher Porr,” said lawyer Ali Najmi outside Queens Criminal Court on Monday. “Mr. Rahman should not have been arrested.”
Rahman suffered a concussion, a broken nose and received several lacerations on his face as the result of the attack. He also lost a substantial amount of blood.
This is what hate looks like. My client Gazi Rahman assaulted by a complete stranger who yelled"f**k Indians." pic.twitter.com/qRTNSYjWhJ— (((Ali Najmi))) (@Ali_Najmi) August 7, 2016
“He tried to grab my phone and wallet,” Rahman told reporters. “I’ve lived in this country for 18 years, nothing like that has ever happened.”
He also claimed the police accused him of being intoxicated, which was not only untrue but also offensive for him as his religion forbids him from drinking.
“In an era of racial incitement that we live in, and the political environment we are unfortunately living through, we are coming together as a community to say we will not tolerate hate crimes in the county of Queens,” Najmi added. “We are calling on the Queens district attorney to take this very seriously.”
Moreover, the lawyer claimed that the assailant is (unsurprisingly) a Donald Trump supporter who has previously expressed Islamophobic views on social media.
Chris Porr who assaulted Mr. Rahman is a Trump supporter and has expressed anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views pic.twitter.com/iEJspGIfFq— (((Ali Najmi))) (@Ali_Najmi) August 8, 2016
“When I walk, I think somebody is coming from behind me, to attack me,” the victim said in a statement. “I want justice. I want him to be punished for this hateful act. Nobody should go through what I have been through.”
While anti-Muslim sentiments have been on a rise since the tragic attacks in Paris and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, the heightened political speech targeting Muslims, especially the Republican presidential nominee’s bigoted rhetoric, has made the situation much worse.