A Muslim Woman Took Matters Into Her Own Hands After NYPD Dismissed Her Hate Crime Case
Thanks to a local business, Fatoumata Camara's quest for justice may be reached.
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HuffPost reports Camara obtained surveillance footage from a local business close to where the assault occurred.
"I told myself I wasn't going to be one of those cases that got abandoned," she said to the news site. "I was going to get justice for what happened to me that night."
Camara boarded a bus heading home that evening after being recognized for her work as student body treasurer at the New York City College of Technology when a horde of teenagers approached her and began yelling racial obscenities such as "dumb, Black b***h" and calling the hijab she wears a "stupid hair wrap."
"They just started attacking me. They started calling me names," Camara said to CBS New York. "With my stupid hair wrap, which is a hijab."
At least 12 teens charged at Camara that night, however law enforcement only detained three people. They were eventually released without consequence. Camara's belongings, which included a $500 check, social security card and passport, were all taken. Her clothes were also damaged as a result.
Camara tells CBS New York officials closed the case because she was unable to identify the aggressors when shown photos of possible suspects at a police precinct shortly after the ambush.
"It was very, very upsetting and traumatizing because besides the mental and physical pain that I went through, for them not to do anything about my case and just leave it as my life didn’t matter," the victim expressed.
After being refused a copy of the police report and detectives declining to launch an investigation, Camara took matters into her own hands. She saw a business with surveillance cameras near the scene. She accessed video of the attack after meeting with owners and eventually released the footage to media outlets. When news broke, officials contacted the engineering graduate on Monday to help her with the case.
"We have such a clear case of not only a crime being committed, but of a hate crime taking place," Camara's attorney Ahmed Mohamed said to HuffPost. "There's clear evidence. Our client not only provided some of this evidence to the detectives, 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."
The District Attorney's office said in a statement to CBS New York they did not "dismiss the case," however they "cannot comment any further on pending investigation."
"We did not dismiss the case; we deferred prosecution pending further police investigation. The police were not able to obtain ID of the suspects and closed the case. we called the victim yesterday to ask her to come in today for a meeting. That has taken place. We cannot comment further on a pending investigation."