Suspected attacker of Hindu priest not charged with hate crime
A suspect who severely beat a Queens, New York, Hindu priest multiple times July 18 morning was not charged with a hate crime during his arraignment, as New York police said there was no indication of racial animus in the attack. Several Indian American organizations have asked the Queens District Attorney`s office to investigate and charge the case as a hate crime.On July 18 , Indian American Harish Chander Puri, a priest at the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple at 8502 264th Street in Queens, was walking to the temple. New York Police Detective Ahmed Nasser told India-West that the suspected attacker, Sergio Gouveia, came up to him.The two allegedly got into a dispute, which escalated into physical violence, said Nasser. The detective said Puri told police officers that the dispute erupted over the fact that he, the victim, was walking in the suspect`s neighborhood.Local media outlets reported that Gouveia screamed at Puri: “This is my neighborhood.” But Nasser said the victim`s statement to police did not indicate that.Gouveia allegedly beat Puri multiple times with an umbrella, causing lacerations and bruising to his nose, arm, chest, and leg.Police records do not indicate that Puri attempted to fight back against Gouveia. Puri was hospitalized for two days after the attack, but has since recovered.