Muslim police officer says man threatened her and her son
A police officer who says she became the victim of a hate crime because of her Muslim faith stood with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President Eric Adams on Monday to denounce the attacks against her.
Officer Aml Elsokary was allegedly told to "go back to her country," even though she was born and raised in New York.
Police say Elsokary saw Christopher Nelson yell at her son and push him Saturday night in Bay Ridge. When she tried to intervene, she says Nelson called her "ISIS," and threatened to slit her throat.
Officer Elsokary was off duty and wearing a hijab at the time of the incident.
"I'm born and raised here. I'm here to protect you, and I know that my department and my city is here to protect me," she says.
Elsokary is considered a hero to many. In 2014, she risked her own safety to run into a burning building, saving an elderly man and a baby girl.
Nelson was arrested and has been charged with a hate crime, menacing and aggravated harassment.
Adams is now calling for stricter penalties for those who commit similar crimes. He says that 47 percent of Brooklyn residents speak a language other than English at home and that hate crimes go against the diversity that makes Brooklyn great.
Neighbors say the anger demonstrated in the incident highlights deep prejudices.
"It's sad. And we have freedom of religion supposedly in this country ... but obviously we really don't," says Angela Marinaro.
Elsokary says she won't lose hope and has faith that New Yorkers will support her.