A woman from Brooklyn has been taken into custody on hate crime charges following an alarming viral video. The footage captured the moment when hot coffee and a mobile phone were hurled at a campaign staffer supporting a presidential candidate. The victim, who was with his young son in a playground, was wearing a Palestinian scarf at the time.
On Tuesday, Hadasa Bozakkaravani, 48, was arrested and faced multiple charges, including four counts of hate crimes. The charges also encompassed assault, assault of a person under 11, reckless endangerment, aggravated harassment, and menacing, as stated by the NYPD.
Bozakkaravani’s arrest occurred approximately two weeks after a widely circulated video depicted a reprehensible attack in Fort Greene on November 7. This incident coincided with the one-month anniversary of an event where Hamas terrorists carried out lethal actions against Israelis.
The video captures a woman approaching Ashish Prashar, a 40-year-old press secretary born in London. Prashar has previously served as a press secretary for former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and played key roles in the successful campaigns of President Biden in 2020 and Barack Obama in 2008.
The Indian American father stated that he was assaulted while at the basketball court in Edmonds Playground on Dekalb Avenue with his 18-month-old son, all because he was wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional black-and-white Arab scarf.
“I think it was the keffiyeh and the color of my skin that triggered her,” Prashar said.
He said, the woman also yelled, “You and your son are terrorists. Get out of here. You don’t belong here.”
Prashar, a former journalist for the UK newspaper The Sun, mentioned that he moved away from the woman and attempted to defuse the situation. He took out his cellphone and started recording, anticipating that her reluctance to engage in violent behavior would be influenced by the presence of a camera.
Instead, he mentioned that rather than calming her down, it appeared to further provoke her.
“She storms towards us and I am holding my son in my arms. She throws her phone at us. I duck.”
Swiftly, Prashar set his son aside and placed him behind his legs. Shortly afterward, he observed the woman’s scalding coffee being hurled in his direction.
He mentioned that the paper cup merely grazed him, causing a minor splatter of liquid that didn’t result in burns. Prashar explained that he sustained some abrasions during the altercation as the erratic assailant tried to snatch his phone.
Upon the approach of a bystander to check on Prashar and his son, the woman seized the child she was accompanying and departed.
Bozakkaravani was freed on her own recognizance after entering a plea of not guilty to each of the nine charges brought against her.
Prashar commented on the release of the suspect, “I don’t think it’s the right decision. She is willing to attack a child and didn’t care of the consequences. Who’s to say she won’t do it again. I think the judge made a horrible decision. Your goal should be to protect our children. She was willing to burn a child on the playground. The person is not fit to be on the streets right now.”