A Trump supporter stands accused of hate crimes after he allegedly attacked a Muslim airline employee verbally as well as physically.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today said that a Massachusetts resident, Robin A. Rhodes, 57, of Worchester, has been charged with, among other crimes, assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes for attacking an airline employee in the Delta Sky Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport last night.
“The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society – especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation. Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Trump supporter Rhodes is presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with third-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, first-degree harassment as a hate crime, third-degree assault, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree aggravated harassment, menacing and first-degree harassment.
If convicted, Rhodes faces up to four years in prison.
What did the Trump supporter said to the Muslim employee?
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal charges, the victim, Delta employee Rabeeya Khan, who wears a head scarf (hijab) was sitting in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge (Terminal 2, JFK Airport) between approximately 7:10 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on January 25,2017, when Rhodes, who had arrived from Aruba and was awaiting a connecting flight to Massachusetts, came up to the door and stated:
“Are you [expletive deleted] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” Rhodes then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair. It is alleged that when Khan asked Rhodes what she did to him, he stated, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive deleted] ass.
Trump supporter Rhodes then allegedly kicked Khan in the right leg. In an effort to get away, Khan moved in a corner of the office. However, Rhodes allegedly kicked the door, stepped into the office and blocked her from leaving the office. It is additionally alleged that when an individual came over to the office and tried to calm Trump supporter Rhodes down, the accused moved away from the door and Khan ran out of the office to the lounge’s front desk. It is alleged, however, that Rhodes followed her and got down on his knees and began to bow down in imitation of a Muslim praying and shouted:
“[Expletive deleted] Islam, [Expletive deleted] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
According to the charges, Khan suffered substantial pain and redness in her right leg and was placed in fear of physical injury, annoyance and alarm as a result of Trump supporter Rhodes’ alleged actions.
At the time of his arrest, Trump supporter Rhodes allegedly told police, in sum and substance, “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.”
The investigation was conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Brown’s Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau.