Fotoumata camara, is a 22 years old Muslim woman who was robbed and brutally beaten by a group of young people last month when she was on her way home from a New York city college of Technology award ceremony where she was honored for her work as a student government treasure.
Police eventually arrived at scene, some of the assailants ran but officers took three people in to custody and a case was opened. Later camara met with police officers at the 42nd precinct, where she was shown photos of 18 people including the three people taken in custody the night of the assault and asked to identify her attackers. According to her lawyer, camara traumatized and unable to clearly see the attackers during the assault, couldn’t pick out any one in the photos so police released three people in custody and dropped the case because of lack of evidence.
“It was unfair for me. I’m the victim of this hole situation ,” said camara, ” for them to drop my case like that because I couldn’t identify these people through photos I was very up set.”
Ahmed Mohammed, camara’s lawyer and director at CAIR new York said authorities weren’t taking the report seriously enough.
“We have such a clear case of not only a crime being committed but of a hate crime taking place,” Mohammed said. ” There’s clear evidence our client not only provided some of these evidence to the detective district attorney but instead of investigating and doing their jobs the NYPD, the district attorney decided our client’s life just didn’t matter enough for them to take it seriously .”
Camara who was beaten and sent to hospital with broken noise and injured head couldn’t accept the drop of her case and deicided to investigate on her own, “I told my self I wasn’t going to be one of those cases that got abandoned.” Camara said.”I was going to get justice for what happened to me that night.”
It was then when she discovered surveillance video from a business near the scene which covered the hole incident, NYPD reopened the her case and is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime after she presented the footage this week.
In recent years anti-Muslim hate crimes have soared in New York and in the U.S. The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations documented a 74% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the state since 2016. The U.S. saw a 17% rise in hate crimes last year, with Muslim individuals being the target of over 18% of religiously motivated hate crimes.
Women like Camara who wear hijabs face an increased threat due to their visibility as Muslims. The New York City Commission on Human Rights found that black Muslim women living in the Bronx were at “notably high risk for bias motivated assaults,” with 1 in 5 women having experienced physical assault.