On December 20, Sixty-year-old African American Parks employee Anthony Crum discovered this doll hanging from a metal chain noose at Ranaqua, the Parks Department's Bronx headquarters. (Photos: NYC Park Advocates)
The NYPD arrested City Parks Department worker Fariz Ahmemulic, 28, yesterday afternoon arround 2:30 in connection with the December 20, 2011 hate crime incident involving the hanging of a black bay doll from a metal chain noose in the Parks Department's headquarters in the Bronx.
By Geoffrey Croft
Mr. Ahmemulic is being charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime. He was arraigned this evening in Bronx Criminal Court where he pleaded not guilty.
His next scheduled court appearence will be at pretrail hearing on February 14, according to the Bronx DA's office.
Three witnesses, including Anthony Crum who found the doll gave testimoney which said that Mr. Ahmemulic admitted to hanging the doll according to sources.
"My client is glad the District Attorney did the right thing because hate crimes against African American's are not a joke," said Mr. Crum's attorney Eric Sanders this afternoon.
The incident, first reported by A Walk In The Park, attracted wide-spread attention.
On December 20 at around 8:30am, Sixty-year-old African American Parks employee Anthony Crum discovered an approximately 15 inches high doll hanging from its neck inside the garage at Ranaqua, the Parks Department's Bronx headquarters.
Investigators from the NYPD's Hate Crime investigated the incident.
The employee - a grandfather of two - had just returned to work from being out sick - was described as looking " traumatized," by a parks employee at the scene.
According to a city source three KKKs were also found scratched in a unisex bathroom on the first floor.
According to parks sources in 2010 Fariz failed the civil service maintenance worker test. As a maintenance worker he made $ 51, 980 but a week before the incident he was demoted to a City Parks Worker where is making $ 33,662.
Ahmemulic has been suspended without pay and was released without bail.
Delay in reporting it.
At the time Parks Commissinor Adrain Benepe said they had, "immediately reported this incident to the NYPD."
However according to the police and several park emplyees the incident was not reported until 12:03 pm, more than three hours after the doll was first discovered by the Parks Department.
Several parks sources strongly refuted the Commissioner's claim that the incident was "immediately reported" to the police.
"That's BS, they waited for hours," said a parks source at the scene. "They probably would have tried to sweep it under the rug if they could have."
In 2008 the city paid out $ 20 million dollars to settle a 2001 federal discrimination lawsuit brought by 11 then current and former employes that charged the former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern and Adrian Benepe fostered a racially hostile work environment for black and Hispanic employees.
The lawsuit contended that Mr. Stern made racially derogatory remarks and tolerated offensive symbols, like three hangman's nooses that were displayed over the last seven years on parks property.
Last week Mr. Crum's attornery filed a Notice Of Claim with the city seeking $ fifteen million dollars.
The claim alleges that Mr. Fariz Ahmemulic admitted to Crum and other employees that
he hung the doll as a "joke." In a blatant attempt to cover up Mr. Ahmemulic’s racially offensive conduct, park supervisors told him to remove the doll and the chain from the garage. The claims that several high level parks management knew about Mr. Ahmemulic’s racially offensive conduct.
"The management woefully failed to protect Mr. Crum's Civil Rights by failing to take appropriate action to discipline offending employees or stop further discriminatory behavior in the workplace" said Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C..
“There actions are particularly egregious because the Parks Department and its employees apparently have not learned anything from its past acts of Civil Rights violations, that is unfortunate,” Sanders says.
The Notice of Claim was filed with the New York City’s Comptroller’s Office on January 4, 2012 and a Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on January 5, 2012.
The Wall Street Journal - January 13, 2012 - By Sumathi Reddy
NYC parks worker faces hate crime charge
Associated Press - January 13, 2012
New York Post - January 13, 2012 - By Lorena Mongelli, Andy Cambell, Doug Auer and John Saul
New York Daily News - January 12 2012 - By Rocco Parascandola and John Marzulli
WPIX - January 12, 2012 - By Mike Sheehan
WPIX - January 12, 2012 - By Greg Mocker
NY1 News - January 12, 2012
NY Magazine - Daily Intel - By Joe Coscarelli
CBS - January 12, 2012
gothamist - January 12, 2012 - By John Del Signore
Metro NY - January 12, 2012 - By Emily Anne Epstein
WPIX - December 22, 2011 - By Mary Murphy
A Walk In The Park - December 20, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft