FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Defendant Who Allegedly Targeted Asian Women Indicted For Robbery as a Hate Crime and Other Charges in Six Separate Incidents
Faces Up To 25 Years in Prison on Top Count
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today said that a 20-year-old man has been named in a 36-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree robbery as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park. The women were allegedly targeted because of their race.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly targeted Asian women walking alone because he believed he could overpower them. Such cowardly attacks – whether based on a person’s race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity, destroy the fabric of who we are as a community and won’t be tolerated.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Manuel Israel, 20, of Manhattan. He has been named in a 36-count indictment in which he is variously charged with second-degree robbery as a hate crime, second-degree robbery, third-degree robbery as a hate crime, third-degree robbery, fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault, second-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime, second-degree attempted robbery, third-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime, third-degree attempted robbery, fourth-degree attempted grand larceny as a hate crime and fourth-degree attempted grand larceny. He will be arraigned on the indictment in Brooklyn Supreme Court at a later date. Israel was initially arrested on April 6, 2015, and ordered held on $50,000 bail following his Criminal Court arraignment.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 6, 2015, at approximately 12:20 a.m., in the vicinity of 55th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, a 23-year-old woman of Chinese descent was walking alone when the defendant allegedly approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then allegedly stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.”
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the alleged attempted robbery and saw the defendant with his arm around the victim’s neck in an apparent struggle and called 911. Police immediately responded to the scene and apprehended Israel about 20 minutes later approximately six blocks from the scene.
Upon further investigation, the defendant was charged with five additional robberies of women of Chinese descent, ages 21 to 43, between March 21st and April 4, 2015, all in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 55th and 71st Streets. In each of the incidents, the defendant allegedly approached the victims from behind and pulled on their handbags, causing them to fall to the ground. It is alleged that he then grabbed the victims’ handbags and fled. Three of the victims suffered injuries, including lacerations, bruising and pain. The investigation revealed that Israel selected women of Chinese descent because he perceived them to be vulnerable to attack.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Sergeant Joe Chen of the 66th Precinct and Detective Davida Welch of the 66th Precinct Detective Squad; Detectives Marc Leonard and Robert Agron of the 68th Precinct Detective Squad and Detectives Sebastian Chichotky and Michael Diaz of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Grace Brainard, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Damani Sims, Deputy Bureau Chief and Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt