Ramapo cops: 4 accused of hate crime targeted Jews
Monsey, N.Y. - Details of an alleged hate crime in this community began to emerge during a court hearing Tuesday for four people facing felony charges in the incident.
Ramapo police say the defendants are accused of plotting “to rob a Jew,” and then attempting to carry out their plan.
The 19-year-old victim, who is from Brooklyn, declined medical attention after being hit on the head by a double-edged knife, Capt. Brad Weidel said.
The weapon, found during a search of the crime scene, was sheathed, which prevented the victim from being cut.
“This individual was specifically targeted because he was Jewish,” Weidel said.
Facing two counts of first-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime are Stanley Joseph, 18, of 5 Oakdale Manor, Suffern; Qwesi Williams, 19, of 781 Ocean Ave., Brooklyn; and Jennifer St. Amand, 20, of 138 Route 59, Airmont, according to the felony complaints against them.
Joseph also faces a charge of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police said Joseph told them he hit the victim on the head during the attack.
Marco Blandino, 19, of 7 Karnell St., Spring Valley, faces one count of first-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime.
Joseph, Williams and St. Amand also face one count each of second-degree assault as a hate crime and fourth-degree conspiracy as a hate crime. Blandino faces one count of fourth-degree conspiracy and one count of fourth-degree criminal facilitation.
Blandino is accused of supplying the knife to Joseph, police said.
Joseph and Williams are accused of demanding money from the victim, who was walking near the Monsey firehouse on Grove Street just before midnight on Monday, Weidel said.
The attack caused the victim to scream, and his assailants fled, Weidel said.
Neighbors who heard the screams called police.
An officer took Williams into custody on a school property near Route 306 and Maple Avenue following a chase, Weidel said.
St. Amand is accused of being the getaway driver, Weidel said.
Residents provided a license-plate number for the car, which was located at a home in Airmont along with St. Amand, police said.
Williams was found walking along Route 59 near Hemion Road on Tuesday morning, Weidel said.
The four defendants were arraigned before Ramapo Town Justice Alan Simon. He set bail at $100,000 each for Joseph, Williams and Blandino, and $75,000 for St. Amand.
They are due in court at 10 a.m. Friday.
Ramapo Town Board member Patrick Withers condemned the violence.
“I believe that there should be zero tolerance in the Town of Ramapo for any kind of hate crime,” Withers said. “I hope a hefty jail sentence will send a message to anyone who thinks they want to pre-meditate this on members of the community based on their religion, creed, sex, ethnicity.”
Ramapo Town Board member Daniel Friedman, who is Jewish, said he wanted to speak out because of his own experience.
Friedman said hate crimes “leave an everlasting mark on an individual persecuted on the basis of their religion or skin tone.”
“Hate crimes also leave a stain on our society; they are reminders that although we may change our laws, much work remains to be done to change our hearts,” he said.