Dec. 21, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A second person has been charged in relation to an attack on a Muslim man– in what prosecutors say was a hate crime.
Eric Leon, was arraigned Thursday for allegedly beating a Muslim man outside the victim’s Rego Park home on Nov. 6, while the victim’s wife and children looked on, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Leon and his fiancée got into an argument with Khaled Aly, 38, and his wife Neamat Taha, 29, near Woodhaven Boulevard and 62nd Avenue before argument got physical.
Leon, 37, unleashed on Aly repeatedly kicking him in the head and the face while he was on the ground, which left him with multiple fractures to his nose and face, according to the charges.
He has been charged with a hate crime assault – and other crimes – and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Leon’s fiancée, Giselle DeJesus, has already been charged for her role in the the incident. She allegedly grabbed Taha’s hijab and cursed at her.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said that Leon– accompanied by DeJesus–allegedly attacked his neighbors because of his “hate and prejudice against Muslims.”
“The victim was terrorized and physically beaten as his wife and children cowered in fear,” Katz said. “Perpetrators of hate crimes must be held accountable everywhere and certainly in the most diverse county in the nation.”
Leon and DeJesus allegedly approached the couple in the rear parking area of their apartment building – where both the family and the suspects lived – before DeJesus got into a hate-filled confrontation with Taha, Katz said.
Aly told them they wanted to be left alone but Leon shoved Aly to the ground and brutally beat him in front of his two children, ages 6 and 8. The incident took place at around 11 p.m.
Leon also shouted obscenities and threatened to kill the man’s entire family, according to the charges.
The suspects told the family that “we are in America” and repeatedly cursed at Aly and called him a “f**king Muslim,” according to the complaint against DeJesus.
Leon was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of assault in the second degree as a hate crime, two counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.