Queens man arrested for beating neighbors because they were Muslims

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QUEENS, NY – Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Eric Leon has been charged with assault as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly attacking a couple outside of their Rego Park home, in front of their two children, on November 6, 2020.

District Attorney Katz said, “Perpetrators of hate crimes must be held accountable everywhere, certainly in the most diverse county in the nation. The defendant charged in this case allegedly attacked a couple – his own neighbors – because of his hate and prejudice against Muslims. “The victim was terrorized and physically beaten as his wife and children cowered in fear. The defendant will answer for his alleged actions.”

Leon, 37, of Woodhaven Boulevard, was arraigned yesterday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Eugene Guarino on a complaint charging him with assault in the second degree as a hate crime, two counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, Leon faces up to 15 years in prison.


District Attorney Katz said that on November 6, 2020, the defendant and his fiancée, who is also facing charges, allegedly approached a family in the rear parking area of their apartment building on Woodhaven Boulevard, where both families reside. Leon allegedly assaulted Mr. Khaled Aly, 38, when he tried to defend his wife after the defendant’s girlfriend grabbed her hijab and cursed at her. According to the complaint, the 38-year-old victim told the defendant to leave them alone. Instead, Leon allegedly pushed his hands into Mr. Aly’s face and chest and shoved him to the ground.

The DA said, once Mr. Aly was defenseless on the pavement the defendant allegedly shouted obscenities, threatened to kill the man’s entire family and kicked the victim repeatedly in the head and face. The victim was treated at a nearby hospital for multiple fractures to his nose and face and required surgery. The investigation was conducted by Detective Ronald York of the 112th Precinct. Assistant District Attorney Michael E. Brovner, Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of the Trial Division Pishoy Yacoub.

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