The New York Police Department asked the public’s help in identifying four suspects of an apparent hate crime that was committed in Central Park. The police released surveillance footage of three of the suspects and a sketch of one of them. The sketch and a screenshot from the video can be seen in the New York Daily News (8.23.14).
The crime involved a 36-year-old woman. She was walking through Central Park when she was shot in the back of the head with a pellet gun.
According to the New York Daily News the victim said she was exiting the park at W. 60th St. and West Drive about 12:05 a.m. Monday when she passed a group of black youths. There were two men and three women all in their late teens or early 20s. The woman claimed that there were no words exchanged as she walked by them, but then she “felt a ‘horrible pain’ in the back of her head” and realized she was bleeding.
Following the shot, the victim heard shouting racial epithets that included “All white people suck” and “F— white people.”
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating the incident.
Under New York’s hate crimes law, the motivation for committing a crime will be taken into account when deciding the punishment. Penalties are increased for hate crimes. This is because New York’s hate crime laws, N.Y. Penal Law § 485.00, § 485.05 and § 485.10, impose severe, additional punishment for harming, threatening or harassing someone because of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.
New York allows for prosecution of hate crimes in civil court. Damages may be awarded by a civil court against a person who is judged to have committed a hate crime. The victim may be awarded compensation for his or her injury. Other damages may be awarded even if there has been no serious injury.
The victim of the Central Park attack was treated at Roosevelt Hospital and released.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has a report showing 93 reported hate crime incidents occurred in New York County in 2012. Kings County had 157 reported incidents, Bronx County had 28, Richmond County had 26, and Queens County had 70.
The New York Daily News story cited is “Woman hit in head with pellet gun in alleged hate crime while walking through Central Park: police.”