The New York Police Department has arrested a man accused of harassing an off-duty Muslim police officer previously commended for heroism. The NYPD said Monday that 36-year-old Christopher Nelson has been arrested on charges of menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment, the AP reports. Authorities say Officer Aml Elsokary, who was wearing a Muslim head covering, encountered a man yelling and pushing her 16-year-old son on Saturday evening in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, when she went to park her car, per CBS New York. When Elsokary, who was unarmed, intervened, the man reportedly said, "ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat, go back to your country."
City officials hailed Elsokary as a hero in 2014 after she saved a baby and the baby's grandmother from a blaze in Williamsburg. The NYPD Muslim Officers Society says she's one of the few NYPD officers who wears a head covering on the clock. "No New Yorker should ever have to worship in fear," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said of this and another recent Islamophobic attack in the city. "This hate, this language, this behavior must never be normalized." There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on the defendant's behalf. (A letter sent to California mosques last month promised a genocide of Muslims.)