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Man Accused of Kicking J.F.K. Worker Wearing a Hijab Charged with Hate Crimes

"Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you."

by Lauren Messman
Jan 27 2017, 5:28pm

Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Delta

A Massachusetts man has been charged with multiple hate crimes for allegedly attacking an employee at a J.F.K. airport lounge in New York on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

Robin Rhodes, 57, apparently launched a tirade at Delta Air Lines employee Rabeeya Khan, who who was wearing a hijab, after deplaning from a flight from Aruba and waiting for his connection. Rhodes allegedly approached Khan while she was sitting in her office at Delta's Sky Club and asked her if she was sleeping or "praying" before punching the door open. Rhodes is accused of forcing his way into the office, kicking Khan in the leg, and blocking the door so she couldn't leave.

Someone then tried to calm Rhodes down, and Khan was able to leave the office and go to the front desk. But Rhodes followed her and got down on his knees to impersonate a Muslim praying before cursing about Islam and ISIS, according to law enforcement.

Rhodes then said, "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 Queens District Attorney's Office.

When authorities arrived to arrest Rhodes, he reportedly told them, "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."

Echoing individual reports across America, there's been a major spike in hate speech and bias crimes in New York City since the November election. Such incidents were up 115 percent in the period between Election Day and early December of this past year compared to the same stretch in 2015, according to the NYPD.

"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," Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. "Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice."

Rhodes is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court and is accused of menacing, harassment, assault, and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.