An intoxicated Staten Island, New York, man has been charged with a hate crime after attacking young Black males with a knife while calling them racial epithets. The early morning dispute was allegedly over a parking space but overshadowed by the drunk supposedly shouting “You n—–s don’t belong here.”
On Thursday, Aug. 11 around 12:45 a.m., John Borzumato allegedly approached four Black men ranging in the ages from 16 to 20 at a parked car on Carlyle Green in Arden Heights as they unpacked the car after a day at the beach. The older white man verbally harassed them for being in his neighborhood, a community he claimed they had no business being in, the Daily News reports.
According to police reports, the boys pulled into a spot near a fire hydrant in his neighborhood.
As he confronted the group of mostly teens, they alleged he used a racial slur towards them as he suggested he was going to stab them with his knife. Bystanders tried to intercede, hoping to redirect him from the quartet, but were unsuccessful.
A mother of one of the young men, Krystle Garcia-Bustamonte, said she was told, “That’s when he said, ‘One of you are going to die tonight.’”
The police report stated the youngsters (all but one were in their teens) were frightened by his words and actions and attempted to back away from their attacker, even trying to hide behind the vehicle. Still, Borzumato kept coming, wielding his knife, and puncturing the car’s tires.
He could not be stopped, even when his neighbors stepped in to subdue him. The 58-year-old only stopped once the 20-year-old in the group punched him in the face, according to Staten Island Live.
“I don’t know if it’s racism,” she continued. “If he’s an emotionally disturbed person with a mental illness, or if he’s just old and ill-tempered.”
Officers charged Borzumato, the Staten Island resident, with menacing as a hate crime, second-degree menacing, weapons possession, and harassment for his part in the confrontation.
One of the young men, Nathaniel Garcia, a 20-year-old Marine reservist, was also charged with assault for grabbing a weapon he said was to defend himself. Officers reported it was a bat.
Garcia-Bustamonte said her son grabbed a stick from his car to defend, stating, “Nate’s car is prone to breaking down, and he’s got a bunch of stuff in his car to use when it’s time for that. It was not a bat.”
She was particularly upset because of how her son was treated when he and his friends were assaulted.
“He’s a decorated Marine,” she informed the Daily News. “He’s being treated like a common thug.”
After the incident, the soldier’s grandmother Janice Gonzalez posted on Facebook, “Most of you know me – REALLY know me. You know that I come from a long line of service to both Country and New York.”
She continued saying her grandson “went home yesterday after spending the day with his family at the beach, and while looking for parking — a white male came out of his house and began calling him and my 16-year-old nephew ‘n*grs,’ [and] he came at my nephew with a knife and my grandson IN ORDER TO STOP THE ASSAULT, punched the guy in the face causing the guy to fall to the ground — just one punch.”
Gonzalez continued, claiming when police arrived, they “walked over and immediately placed my grandson and nephew in cuffs.”
Questioning, “Since when do we arrest a Black victim of a hate crime who is defending himself?”
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) has released a statement condemning Borzumato’s “alleged racist act.”
“This alleged racist behavior and the perverse sense of entitlement that feeds it are an affront to American values and must be repudiated at all levels of our society,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of CAIR-NY said in a statement. “America is great because of its diversity, not in spite of it.”
“We commend Nathaniel Garcia for bravely defending himself and his companions from this potentially deadly attack and believe that he should not have been charged with any crime for doing so. We hope that the alleged assailant will be brought to justice in a manner that suits the despicable nature of his alleged crime,” she continued.
While details of the confrontation are murky, by the time officers arrived on the scene of the crime, Borzumato had suffered a fractured skull and had to be hospitalized for a fractured jaw and a brain bleed.
On Friday, Aug. 12, Garcia was arraigned on an assault charge, along with the unnamed minor in his group who was charged in the confrontation.
The Marine has secured an attorney, but counsel has not offered a comment on the arrest or altercation. Borzumato has not responded to the incident publicly either.