HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 13-year-old is charged with a hate crime for allegedly punching another teen and making biased comments toward him at a Long Island mall, police said Friday.New York Weather: CBS2’s 10/23 Saturday Morning Forecast
The teen was arrested Thursday night, police said.
Earlier this week, two Sikh teenagers said they were the targets of a hate crime at the mall.
CBS2’s Alice Gainer spoke with one of the teens and his father.
“Physically I’m OK, but mentally… I have a 3-year-old brother. I don’t want this happening to him,” 13-year-old Chaz Bedi said.
Chaz told Gainer he was at Walt Whitman Shops with a friend when they passed some older teens they didn’t know.
“He’s like, ‘Hey Muhammad, come over here.’ Well, that hurts me immediately because my name is obviously not Muhammad. It’s kind of stereotypical,” he said.READ MORE: Manhattan, Brooklyn Residents Sue City To Stop Permanent Outdoor Dining
Chaz said he walked up to them.
“We walk up to him and we say, ‘What’s up?’ Then we realize he’s with a larger group of people, and we’re not trying to get into any fights or arguments or anything, so we keep walking by,” he said.
But the group allegedly followed them and Chaz said it escalated with one teen allegedly saying, “Shut up before I knock that ball off your head.”
Chaz, who wears a turban, noticed someone was recording on their cell phone and then…
“He jumps in front of me and then he hits the left side of my face,” he said.
Chaz and his friend went into a store and waited. An employee at another store eventually asked them what happened and mall security was called.
“We wear turbans because of our religious beliefs. That doesn’t mean you should attack anyone because of what they looked like,” said Satbir Singh, Chaz’s father.
The victim was not seriously hurt.MORE NEWS: 'Phantom Of The Opera,' Broadway's Longest Running Show, Resumes Performances
The suspect now faces aggravated harassment and hate crime charges.