Two women, including a resident of Warburton Avenue, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a hate crime and assault in New York City’s Riverside Drive area on November 9th.
The protestors, Stephanie Gonzalez, 25, of Yonkers, and Mehwish Omer, 26, of West 107th Street on the Upper West Side were charged with yanking a Star of David necklace off a woman’s neck during an altercation. The alleged assault took place after the pair was confronted by the Jewish victim when they tore down posters depicting Israelis hostages kidnapped by Hamas.
The alleged attack is believed to have started when the 41-year-old victim began recording Gonzalez and Omer taking down the “Missing Persons” posters from a lamp post just before 10:00pmnear West 82nd Street and Riverside Drive. According to NYPD, a verbal fight broke out between the two women and the victim, who was recording them on her cellphone.
Police stated that the cellphone was damaged when the protestors allegedly knocked it from the victim’s hand and to the ground. The victim’s neck and face sustained minor injuries but she denied medical care at the time.
Hate Crimes Task Force Leads Investigation
On November 20th, Gonzalez was arrested, while Omer surrendered to authorities on Monday morning. Omer was charged with hate crime/assault and hate crime/criminal mischief for her part in the alleged attack, while Gonzales is charged with hate crime/assault and attempted robbery. According to authorities, neither woman has prior arrests.
Since Hamas’ surprise attack of Israel on October 7th, posters have been plastered around various locations in the five boroughs. Since then, many of the posters of Israeli hostages have been vandalized or torn down in acts of antisemitism.
Mayor Eric Adams labeled the concerning incidents as a “deeply misguided act of disrespect to victims of terrorism.”
“As we see the fallout from this violence spill over into New York City, we must reiterate that hate has absolutely no place here,” he said.