FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Defendant Who Targeted Chinese Women Pleads Guilty to
Robbery as a Hate Crime
To Be Sentenced to 12 Years in State Prison
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 21-year-old man has pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery as a hate crime for robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park, targeting them because of their race.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant specifically robbed Chinese women because they walked alone and he believed they wouldn’t fight back or be able to identify him. Hate crimes based on a person’s race, gender, sexual identity or ethnicity destroy the fabric of our communities and will not be tolerated. This defendant has now been held accountable.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Manuel Israel, 21, of Manhattan. He pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of second-degree robbery as a hate crime before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who indicated he would sentence the defendant to 12 years in prison on November 9, 2016.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 6, 2015, at approximately 12:20 a.m., in the vicinity of 55th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, a 23-year-old woman of Chinese descent was walking alone when the defendant approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.”
The Acting District Attorney added that, according to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the attempted robbery and saw the defendant with his arm around the victim’s neck in an apparent struggle and called 911. Police immediately responded to the scene and apprehended Israel about 20 minutes later approximately six blocks from the scene.
The defendant admitted that he committed five additional robberies of women of Chinese descent, ages 21 to 43, between March 21st and April 4, 2015, all in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 55th and 71st Streets, and was subsequently charged with those crimes. In each of the incidents, the defendant approached the victims from behind and pulled on their handbags, causing them to fall to the ground. He then grabbed the victims’ handbags and fled. Three of the victims suffered injuries, including lacerations, bruising and pain. The investigation revealed that Israel selected women of Chinese descent because he perceived them to be vulnerable to attack.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.