PACK THE COURT: Come out this Thursday, July 9th at 9AM at the Brooklyn Supreme Court, 320 Jay Street.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/109279876081241/
COMMUNITY GROUPS AND FAITH LEADERS DENOUNCE TRUMPED UP HATE CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST ACTIVIST SHAWN CARRIE; DEMAND FULL INVESTIGATION OF LEONARD PETLAKH FOR RACIALLY-BIASED ASSAULT
PRESS CONFERENCE: WHEN: Thursday, July 9th 2015, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Outside Brooklyn Supreme Court
320 Jay Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
WHAT: Press conference following the arraignment of Shawn Carrie (Schrader), who is being charged with a racially-motivated hate crime in conjunction with a series of incidents that that took place in October 2014 at a basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Schrader will be joined by a coalition of community groups, faith leaders and supporters denouncing the charges. Video evidence shows that the accuser, Mr. Leonard Petlakh, was in fact the perpetrator of a racially-motivated crime towards a Palestinian woman during the basketball game. Petlakh was part of a group of men who assaulted Nerdeen Kiswani, a young Palestinian woman who visibly presents as Muslim, hitting her and yanking her property from out of her hands. Kiswani was attacked for no reason other than wearing a hijab and holding a Palestinian flag. To date, Petlakh has not been investigated for the attack. As the Vice-President of the American Zionist Organization, Petlakh has used his political connections to wage a witch-hunt against Shraeder, a prominent activist and journalist, and deflect attention from his own documented assault.
Community and faith leaders will come together to firmly denounce the biased, prejudiced charges against Schraeder, whose case is being used to deflect attention from the real perpetrator of the hate crime–Mr Petlakh. Supporters will call on the District Attorney’s office to investigate Mr. Petlakh’s assault on Kiswani and immediately drop all charges against Schrader.
The press conference will begin at approximately 11:00 a.m. outside of Brooklyn Supreme Court following Mr Schrader’s arraignment at 9:00 a.m.
In a fantastic stroke of irony, the Brooklyn District Attorney is pursuing a campaign of political targeting using a grand jury to bring trumped up charges of felony assault with a “hate crime bias” against Shawn Carrié. The alleged incident took place eight months ago at a basketball game at the Barclays Center. The accuser, Leonard Petlakh, claims he was attacked for no reason other than being Jewish, but there is substantial video evidence that clearly shows that Petlakh himself was involved and assisted in the commission of a blatantly hateful and unprovoked attack against a Palestinian Muslim woman for no reason at all.
During the game, Petlakh was part of a group of men who assaulted Nerdeen Kiswani, a young Palestinian woman who visibly presents as Muslim, and yanked a flag from her hands. In the video, Petlakh and his cronies can be seen singling out Nerdeen for nothing else than wearing a hijab and holding the Palestinian flag as they plan their attack. Shawn is also seen in the video, calmly observing and filming with a cell phone. After assaulting Nerdeen, Petlakh and friends call for an usher, and Nerdeen exclaims that she was assaulted and wants the man arrested. Instead, Barclays security just escorted Petlakh and his gang of thugs out the stadium. Nerdeen pleaded with them to call the police because she wanted to press charges against the men who assaulted her, but she was completely ignored.
The video, which was taken by Petlakh and his friends, clearly shows them as aggressive instigators. They sought to cover up their crimes by claiming that they were the victims of a hate crime, despite the fact that none of them were wearing anything that outwardly identified them as being Jewish.
Within days of the incident, over a dozen city council members and officials gathered at a press conference to declare support for Petlakh, who is Vice President of the American Zionist Movement, Executive Director of the Kings Bay Y, and an adjunct professor at Hunter College, where Nerdeen Kiswani attends school. Petlakh used his political connections to amplify what he decided to call a “hate crime.” Media such as CBS New York, Gothamist and various right-wing blogs have parroted these allegations. They did not mention Petlakh’s attack on Nerdeen.
These bogus charges against Shawn are not only a means to cover up Petlakh’s own crimes, but also a political attack on Palestine solidarity organizing in New York, as well as Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities across the U.S. as a whole. This is a case of targeting an activist for their political alignment with the intention of silencing all people speaking up for human rights, labeling anyone with a critical perspective of Israel as “anti-semitic.” We will not stand by as Petlakh uses his political clout to manipulate the justice system, calling in favors to push for an outrageous and malicious prosecution. We also demand to know why Petlakh and his friends have not been charged with any crimes for singling out and attacking a visibly Muslim woman – which they even had the audacity to film themselves doing it.
Come out this Thursday, July 9th at 9AM at the Brooklyn Supreme Court, 320 Jay Street. Shawn Carrié, our comrade and yours, will need our support. We know that Petlakh’s accusations and the DA’s charges are a farce. Whether reporting in war zones in Ferguson or in occupied Palestine, Shawn is driven by a passion for justice and freedom, not by hate. Let’s show them that we are not afraid to stand together for justice. A press conference will follow.
What else can you do?
If you can’t make it to the courts on Thursday, you can:
Call up the DA and politicians, and ask them why Leonard Petlakh and his associates have not been charged with conspiring to assault and assaulting Nerdeen Kiswani.