Defendant Who Targeted Chinese Women Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison Following Guilty Plea to Robbery as a Hate Crime

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Defendant Who Targeted Chinese Women Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
Following Guilty Plea to Robbery as a Hate Crime

Admitted Targeting Chinese Women Because He Could Overpower Them

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery as a hate crime for robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park. The defendant admitted targeting them because of their race.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today’s sentence shows that hate crimes such as these, which are based on a person’s race, gender, sexual identity or ethnicity, will not be tolerated in Brooklyn. The defendant specifically targeted Chinese women walking alone because he thought he could overpower them and escape prosecution. He’s now been held accountable.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Manuel Israel, 21, of Manhattan. He was sentenced yesterday to a determinate term of 12 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The defendant pleaded guilty last month to one count of second-degree robbery as a hate crime.

The Acting 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 approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.”

The Acting District Attorney added that, according to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the 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.

The defendant admitted that he committed 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, and was subsequently charged with those crimes. In each of the incidents, the defendant approached the victims from behind and pulled on their handbags, causing them to fall to the ground. 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 prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.