Man arrested in alleged Bay Ridge bias crime against Arab American group leader

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Carolina Leid reports on a bias crime in Bay Ridge. (WABC)

Police have made an arrest after a leader of an Arab American group was threatened in Bay Ridge.

Brian Boshell, 45, who has 56 prior arrests and is described as "a local problem" for police in the neighborhood, was arrested this week, said Robert Boyce, the NYPD chief of detectives. He is charged with menacing and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, in addition to weapon possession charges.

Boshell, who is white, is accused of threatening to behead Linda Sarsour, 34, on Wednesday to "see how your people feel about it." Sarsour, the director of the Arab American Association of New York, was leaving her office headquarters on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge when she said the man started yelling at her and threw a public trash can onto Fifth Avenue.

Boshell is accused of saying "you are cutting people's heads off sharmoota, I'm going to cut off your head and see how your people will feel, you Arab b---h," according to police.

Sarsour said on her Facebook page that she and the organization's deputy director "were harassed and assaulted by a bigoted drunk who hurled hateful Islamophobic and anti-Arab epithets at us on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge."

She complained on her page that police took too long to respond when she called 911. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said that the response time is being investigated.

Sarsour later wrote that Boshell was arrested. "Top brass at NYPD stepped up, and local 68 Community Affairs got wind of it and hit the streets combing the area and found him. Hope things like this never happen to anyone.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Thursday, "our city will never condone such glaring acts of bigotry and intolerance."
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