A bizarre random attack in Queens could potentially be labeled as a hate crime if the victim has his way. Forty-six-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant Gazi Rahman was reportedly walking down the street while talking on his phone when 39-year-old Christopher Porr asked him for money. After Rahman told him he didn’t have money, the man allegedly punched him and shouted “F*** Indians!”
According to the Huffington Post, Gazi Rahman is a United States citizen and not even Indian, but he believes the random attack was fueled by racially charged hatred. He spoke about the disturbing crime outside Queens Criminal Court earlier this week.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have any money,’ and then he punched me and said, ‘F*** Indians,'” Rahman explained.
This is what hate looks like. My client Gazi Rahman assaulted by a complete stranger who yelled”f**k Indians.” pic.twitter.com/qRTNSYjWhJ
— (((Ali Najmi))) (@Ali_Najmi) August 7, 2016
Photos of the violent aftermath reveal that Gazi suffered from severe lacerations and lost a lot of blood at the scene. He had to be treated at a hospital for a concussion.
Police did arrive at the scene and arrested Rahman’s attacker, Christopher Porr. However, they also arrested the Bangladeshi man, assuming the two men had gotten in a fist-fight. While multiple news outlets have described the incident as straightforwardly as Gazi Rahman, with him enduring the punch and the hateful words, there is a little bit more to the story.
— (((Ali Najmi))) (@Ali_Najmi) August 8, 2016
Surveillance footage captured the entire scene on film, which can be viewed in the tweet above. Viewer discretion is advised. Though the video does largely reflect Gazi Rahman’s account of the attack, showing Christopher Porr attacking him without obvious motivation, a lot more happens than was originally mentioned. Rahman did begin to fight back after Christopher Porr attacked, which began with an aggressive shove, not a punch. You can see Gazi Rahman attempting to deliver a series of kicks to Porr’s midsection, which ultimately provokes the attacker into throwing the punch that broke the Bangladeshi man’s nose.
Thankfully, a group of men rushed to Gazi Rahman’s aid. The video shows two to three other individuals trying to fend off Christopher Porr with a metal pole and a backpack, all while Rahman bleeds on the sidewalk. Both men would later be arrested and charged, but Rahman’s charges are expected to be dropped.
Gazi Rahman’s lawyer, Ali Najmi, claims that his client should not have been arrested. He claims the footage completely corroborates the story and depicts Christopher Porr as an “unprovoked aggressor.” Both Najmi and Rahman believe the attack should be classified as a hate crime, which could result in more dire charges against Porr.
“The video shows Mr. Rahman being a law-abiding citizen, doing nothing wrong, and all of the sudden being attacked by a large man later identified as Christopher Porr… Mr. Rahman should not have been arrested.”
The arresting officers have also been accused of discriminating against Rahman. While the footage does show him defending himself, the Bangladeshi man claims the officers incorrectly assumed he was drunk and belligerent. Gazi Rahman is an observing Muslim, which forbids him from consuming alcohol. A witness’s account of the attack supports Rahman’s claims that the officers jumped to false conclusions about the incident.
“I just told them what happened,” said Glen Rozado. “But they weren’t that interested in listening to us.”
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) August 9, 2016
But Gazi Rahman’s accusations against his attacker go even further. According to the New York Daily News, he also claims Christopher Porr tried to rob him.
“He tried to grab my phone and wallet,” he said. “I’ve lived in this country for 18 years; nothing like that has ever happened.”
The Queens district attorney’s office is reviewing the footage and evaluating the allegations, but Rahman’s lawyer believes this is a simple case of racist man committing a hate crime.
“In an era of racial incitement that we live in, and the political environment we are unfortunately living through, we are coming together as a community to say we will not tolerate hate crimes in the county of Queens. We are calling on the Queens district attorney to take this very seriously.”
Najmi has also publicized the fact that Gazi Rahman’s attacker Christopher Porr is a supporter of Donald Trump and has expressed anti-immigration views in the past.
What do you think? Was the random attack fueled by hate? Are the police officers guilty of making false assumptions about the victim? Leave a comment below.
[Photo courtesy of Aji Najmi]