Police charge Greenport woman with hate crime

Lance Wheeler/For Columbia-Greene MediaCongregation Anshe Emeth, a Jewish synagogue at 240 Joslen Boulevard, was the scene of a hate crime, state police said.

GREENPORT — A Columbia County woman was charged Saturday with a hate crime for allegedly throwing pork chops at a synagogue, state police said.

Tara Rios, 47, of Greenport was arraigned in Livingston Town Court on Saturday and charged with first-degree harassment as a hate crime, a class A misdemeanor, state police said.

Rios, on Jan. 9, between the hours of 5:23 p.m. and 3:28 a.m., threw a package of pork chops, a non-kosher food, onto the front steps of the Congregation Anshe Emeth at 240 Joslen Boulevard, causing pork fluids to be spilled onto its steps, according to a criminal complaint filed by state police in Livingston Town Court. The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force also assisted with the investigation.

Rios allegedly returned to the synagogue at about 3:28 a.m. Jan 10 to photograph the scene, police said.

“These acts caused the membership of Congregation Anshe Emeth to be in reasonable fear of further anti-Semitic acts which could result in physical injury,” state police said. No injuries were reported.

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka said incidents such as these are rare.

“[It’s] very, very uncommon,” Czajka said. “I can’t remember anything like this in the past eight to 10 years.”

At the start of the arraignment, Columbia County Public Defender Shane Zoni expressed concern about his client’s mental competency.

Rios declined to speak to reporters about the incident after her arraignment.

Livingston Town Justice Harold Weaver Jr. barred Rios from returning to the synagogue, which is less than a quarter of a mile from Rios’s home. Rios lives on Gifford Parkway, which is in Greenport but has a Hudson address, In court, she said she lives in Hudson.

Rios was released on her own recognizance and was due back in Greenport Town Court on Monday afternoon. Weaver warned Rios on Saturday that if she is accused of any other crimes before her next court appearance Monday she would be jailed on bail.

Rabbi Daniel Fried, who has served Congregation Anshe Emeth since 1980, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The incident prompted a response from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The American Muslim community has in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, immigrant, Native American, African-American, Sikh and other targeted minority communities following acts of hate, according to a statement from the group.

“Anti-semitism and xenophobia in any form are reprehensible,” CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed said in a statement on Sunday. “We continue to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. Acts of hatred and harassment at houses of worship are unacceptable. As we have stated many times, an attack on any house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship.”

Reporter Abby Hoover contributed to this story.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

LH

Why are you quoting the controversial organization CAIR? Council on American-Islamic Relations has a pattern of discriminating against and mistreating their own employees, especially #women.

There are issues of religious #discrimination, sexual #harassment, #retaliation, #hostile work environment, #union busting, financial #mismanagement (including losing their 501c3 status and questions around international funding through their Washington Trust Foundation), lack of board oversight, board #incompetence, and other serious issues at CAIR. Donor funds are directly going to pay for attorneys to suppress, silence, and intimidate those who have been treated unjustly.

There are many people who have been directly harmed by #CAIR. The CAIR Sexism Documentation Project currently has 35 members, mostly women, who share their experiences of facing discrimination, and other abuses, by CAIR.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2228298364100050/

There were several lawsuits in 2019 by former employees/board members. Employment discrimination lawsuit filed against CAIR-CA. SEE:

https://www.docdroid.net/FjATdM9/onlinedocument.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1uMMCaznSystmODEn10py3_qHMJsye9r4fkLKCYyecJ4dYzKVIWbbrVGI

Some of the local funds that chapters raise goes directly to National as part of chapter affiliation fees. And when, for 25 years, you are the national founder, national board member with no term limits, and national executive director, you have immense power on how that money is spent- including buying a brand new SUV for the executive director, paying expensive DC lawyers to shut down staff efforts to unionize, hiring attorneys to harass and intimidate women who ask for equal pay and report abuse and sexual harassment, etc. Chapters are aware of the issues but look the other way and do nothing.

This review was posted by the former executive director of a chapter: “I do not recommend donating your money to CAIR-NJ. I believe there may be a warrant out for the arrest of a former CAIR-NJ board member, who served as this organization's treasurer, for stealing CAIR-NJ money by writing himself checks. Donors should definitely question whether their charity is legitimately being used to do civil rights advocacy, how this was allowed to happen, and whether the organization is being fully transparent. Full disclosure: I am a former Executive Director of CAIR-NJ and found the board leadership to be quite inadequate and corrupt at the expense of the community and even moreso at the expense of its staff.”

CAIR creates more victims than it helps. It does more harm than good, whether it's the continuous negative portrayal of Muslims as victims in the media, lack of strategy, making serious mistakes on people's cases, providing inconsistent services, the all-male press conferences, failure to build a legitimate nationwide infrastructure, lack of community engagement on the national level, not having a seat at many tables despite being around for 25 years and having an office a few blocks from the US Capitol, and so much more.

Ultimately, nothing good can come out of corruption and injustice. The community deserves a legitimate civil rights and Muslim organization that treats all people with the respect and dignity they deserve.

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