Man Charged with Hate Crimes after Encounter with Muslim Airline Worker

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NEW YORK — A man who allegedly kicked and shouted “Trump is here now” at a Delta contractor wearing a hijab at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has been charged with hate crimes, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Robin A. Rhodes, 57, of Worcester, Massachusetts, had just arrived from Aruba on Wednesday night when he approached the office in Delta’s Sky Lounge where Rabeeya Khan was working, according to statement from the prosecutor’s office.

Rhodes walked up to the office door asked Khan, “Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” the statement says.

Rhodes then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair. When Khan asked what she had done to him, Rhodes said, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass,” according to the statement. He then allegedly kicked Khan in the leg, stepped into her office and blocked her exit.

The prosecutor alleges that after another person tried to calm Rhodes, giving Khan an opening to run from the office, the suspect followed her and bowed down in imitation of Muslim prayer.

“[Expletive] Islam,” he shouted, according to the statement “[Expletive] ISIS. Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”

When Rhodes was arrested, he allegedly told police: “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.”

Rhodes was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes, court documents show. He was being held on a $50,000 bond.

CNN has requested comment from Rhodes’ attorney.

“What happened in this incident is totally unacceptable, and we have fully cooperated with authorities,” Delta spokesman Brian Kruse told CNN.

This incident is the latest in a spate of hate crimes and speech since the election of Donald Trump in November.

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