The Brooklyn father attacked with hot coffee flung by a bigot earlier this month recounted the hate crime in an exclusive interview with amNewYork Metro.
Police continue to search for the perpetrator behind the Nov. 7 assault while Ashish Prashar and his 18-month-old son were in a Fort Greene playground. They were approached by a woman who hurled anti-Arab slurs — accusing the father of supporting Hamas — before splashing him with the scalding beverage.
For Prashar the day started like so many had before it. He says he was proudly watching his son play with another boy in Edmonds Playground when the woman suddenly approached.
“My son was playing with another boy who is about seven years old, and the boy was being really sweet to him. This woman came over and basically said: ‘Do you support Hamas? Do you know Hamas are terrorists? You and your son are terrorists, get away from my child!’” Prashar explained.
According to Prashar, police informed him that the attacker was not the mother of the other child but instead a nanny hired to watch over him.
She proceeded to verbally berate the father and demand him to leave the park, going as far as to say: “Your people burn babies in ovens, and I hope someone burns your baby in an oven.” Prashar told amNewYork Metro that he was in shock.
“I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening. And all this time I was trying to back away and keep my son behind me because I didn’t know what she was gonna do. I pulled my camera out eventually because I thought if you’re being filmed, you don’t want to be on the record doing something stupid. In fact, I made it worse,” Prashar said. “She hit me a few times and tried to grab my phone a few times.”
The bigot apparently threw her phone at Prashar’s son who he had scooped up into his arms shortly before she then lobbed the coffee at the pair.
Prashar is not Palestinian, he is Punjabi. Nevertheless, the incident has Prashar concerned for his child, and also spurred him to speak out against racial and ethnic injustice.
“No one should be attacking any human being Palestinian or anything,” Prashar said.”Most of my community are worried about their children right now.”
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all is that the perpetrator still remains at large. While police say they have identified a suspect and are getting probable cause to make an arrest, the individual responsible has not been apprehended.
According to Prashar, his attacker is well known in the community and has been spotted several times.
“I’m shell-shocked that the police haven’t picked her up,” Prashar said. “Someone saw her in Whole Foods and called the police.”
Anyone with information regarding the case can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.