A man who allegedly kicked and shouted “Trump is here now” at a Muslim airline employee at JFK airport Wednesday has been charged with hate crimes, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Massachusetts resident Robin Rhodes, 57, could face up to four years in prison on hate crime charges after attacking a Muslim woman and telling her that now that Donald Trump is President he will “get rid of” her.
“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,” Brown said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
According to the charges, Delta employee Rabeeya Khan, who wears a head scarf, was sitting in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge between 7:10 and 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday when Rhodes came up to the door.
Rhodes, who is from Worcester, Massachusetts and was awaiting a connecting flight on his way home from Aruba, allegedly said through the door, “Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?”
He then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair. When she asked him what she did, he allegedly said, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass,” and then kicked her in the right leg.
She tried to get away by moving to a corner of her office, but he entered and blocked her from leaving. When someone came over to help, Rhodes moved away from the door and Khan escaped, running to the front desk in the lounge.
Rhodes followed her, allegedly getting down on his knees to imitate Muslim prayer and yelling “[Expletive] Islam, [Expletive] 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.”
When he was arrested by Port Authority police, Rhodes said something along the lines of, “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.”
Khan suffered significant pain and redness in her leg.
Rhodes has been charged 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. He is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, and, if convicted, could face up to four years in prison.