A traveller has been accused on charges of unlawful imprisonment and aggravated harassment as part of hate crime, after he went on a racist tirade, yelled racist slurs and even kicking a Muslim Delta employee in the leg at the John F Kennedy Airport.
57 year old Robin Rhodes, who was returning in January from a trip to Aruba, also faces hate crime charges, reports CNN. He was released on $50,000 bond and ordered to return to court in June. He faces up to four years in prison.
Rhodes was waiting for a connecting flight to Worcester, Massachusetts, when he entered the Delta Sky Lounge at JFK. He came up to the office of the employee, who has not been identified, and said, “Are you [expletive deleted] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?”, said Queens district attorney Richard Brown.
The criminal complaint states that Rhodes punched the door, which hit the back of the employee’s chair. The employee then asked Rhodes as to what she had done to him and he replied, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your a**,” the complaint said.
Rhodes then kicked the employee in the leg, after which she tried to get away, but Rhodes persisted, kicking the door and stepping into her office and blocking her from escaping.
Another person, also not identified, tried to calm Rhodes and moved him away from the door, while the employee ran out of the office to the lounge’s front desk.
Rhodes allegedly followed the employee, at one point getting down on his knees, bowing down in imitation of a Muslim praying.
He shouted, “[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.”
According to the charges, the victim suffered substantial pain and redness in her right leg and was placed in fear of physical injury, annoyance and alarm.
In the wake of the attack, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the Transportation Worker Protection Act, which would make any assault against an airport worker a felony, punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison.