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Man wearing Arab scarf says he was violently confronted by a woman in Brooklyn park

Man wearing Arab scarf says he was violently confronted by a woman in a Brooklyn park
Man wearing Arab scarf says he was violently confronted by a woman in a Brooklyn park 02:04

NEW YORK -- Police are investigating a confrontation at a Brooklyn park as a potential hate crime.

The alleged victim said he was accosted because of the color of his skin and the scarf he was wearing.

As Ashish Prashar stood near Edmond Park in Fort Greene, he said, "I don't think it registered how bad it was at that moment."

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Tuesday's attack was caught on camera, but it's unclear what led up to it. A woman went on a rampage as Prashar shielded his 18-month-old son on a basketball court.

"She told me she was Jewish-American and I don't belong here," Prashar said.

He said the woman then started hurling more insults.

"'You are a terrorist. 'You don't belong here.' She told me several times that I didn't belong here," Prashar said.

Things then got even worse.

"She threw her phone viscerally at both our heads. I ducked and it missed both of us. At that point, I put my son on the ground behind my legs. When I looked back up, hot coffee was coming towards my face," Prashar said.

He said the coffee just missed his son.

"She targeted me because I'm wearing a Palestinian scarf. I'm wearing an Arab scarf," Prashar said.

He said she stopped once a bystander against the fence stepped in.

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Prashar, whose family is from India, said he is appalled that he has become another case of mistaken identity and a victim of a possible hate crime because of the color of skin.

"I'm Punjabi. I was born in London. But it doesn't mean I don't have solidarity with anyone in the world who is seeking to be free," he said.

Following two recent hate crimes in the Sikh community, including one that was fatal, he said he wants local leaders to address the bias more than ever.

"It's being carried over from everyone from India to North Africa with the Middle East in the middle," Prashar said. "We are not safe, simply that, and our children are not safe."

Prashar said he had never seen the woman before. Police said they are investigating it as a possible hate crime, but so far there have been no arrests.

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