When people got aboard the Brooklyn-bound 3 train at 3:00pm Monday April 15, they had no idea what awaited them. Seventeen-year-old Stephan Stowe and eight of his friends boarded the train and approached a man who happened to be seated. This seems innocent enough right?
The New York Daily News reported the story, saying that Stowe greeted the man by saying, “Assalamu Alakium.” The greeting means “Peace be with you.” When the man didn’t respond, Stowe became angry at shouted “You think you’re better than me? We are cousins.”
The man replied, “No we’re not.” He then requested that Stowe leave him alone, but that’s not what happened. Instead, Stowe started yelling ethnic slurs towards the man. At one point, the man took out his phone and took a picture of Stowe, which prompted a violent response out of Stowe.
The court documents indicate that Stowe swore and said, “I’m going to kill you right now. They should have killed all of you.”
Apparently, the 17-year-old was referencing the Holocaust. The man he was harassing happened to be Jewish and was wearing a yarmulke. After he was threatened with death, the man ran to tell the conductor what happened. As the train pulled into Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop, the police were there waiting to arrest Stowe.
It got worse.
A group of angry individuals attempted to prevent the police from arresting Stowe. A 22-year-old woman personally intervened Sheniqua Joseph, as you can see in the below video, things devolved further from there.
Stowe has been brought up on eight counts, one of the charges carries with it the additional charge of a hate crime. Joesph will also be charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.
There’s a lesson here folks, leave people the hell alone on public transportation unless you receive an explicit response or invitation to engage them in conversation.