47-year-old Kenneth Jerome Pinkney joins a growing list of people charged with hate crimes against Muslims since the escalation of violence in the Middle East. Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been on-going since the 1940s, when the U.S. and its allies carved out the land on which the modern-day nation Israel was established, the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory bombing of Gaza has seemingly inspired renewed ill-will. Few, if any, of the people charged are Jews with an actual stake in the fighting.
by Frank Butler, OrlandoAdvocate
Pinkney was riding his bicycle when he saw the uniformed postal worker delivering mail to a home in Wilton Manors, Florida. As he rode by, authorities say, he made a “shooting gesture” with his hand, then called her derogatory names and told her “to go back to her country.” He apparently assumed she was from another country because she was wearing an hijab– a headscarf worn by Muslim women for religious reasons. But there are many women born in the U.S. who wear the hijab.
The female postal worker, not yet named publicly, tried to brush off the comments by laughing, but Pinkney stopped, got off his bike and walked over to her. He then, according to police reports, ripped off her hijab and began to slap and punch her in the face, causing her to bleed from her mouth.
Trying to get away from him, the woman headed for her US Postal Service truck, but Pinkney grabbed her. Another struggle ensued, with her telling him that she was going to call the police. He then said he would do the same.
When police arrived, they noted that “Pinkney was unable to provide any details regarding the incident without losing track of his story.” He was arrested and charged with battery and a felony hate crime, according to court records.
He has been ordered to undergo a mental health examination.
CAIR-Florida Media and Outreach Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz said the organizaation is pleased with the felony hate charges.
“We welcome the hate crime charge brought against this suspect who reportedly attacked a postal worker because she is Muslim and following the bloody attack told her to ‘go back to [her] country.’
“This alleged violence and hate have absolutely no place in Florida. We will make sure to follow up on this and any other case to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent to deter others from engaging in this criminal anti-social behavior targeting anyone, regardless of their race or religion.