Sunday, October 05, 2008

New City man charged with attacking 3 people, screaming racial slurs

NEW CITY - A 22-year-old man has been charged with attacking three younger males while screaming racial slurs at them on South Little Tor Road, Clarkstown police said yesterday.

Police said they weren't sure what precipitated the attack Tuesday afternoon. Sgt. Harry Baumann said Richard Giga, accused in the attack, had been drinking and just had an argument with his mother.

Baumann said Giga also had fought with his former girlfriend, having burned her belongings in the family's outdoor fireplace.

Giga had left the house and was walking when he encountered the three males, police said.

"He didn't know them, as far as we know, and we don't know of any provocation," Baumann said. The attacker "just went off the wall," he said.

The three Nanuet residents - ages 15, 17 and 20 - were walking on South Little Tor Road near Pasta Cuccina at 3 p.m. when the attack occurred, Baumann said.

Giga is accused of first slamming his body into the 20-year-old, then punching the 15-year-old in the head while screaming anti-Hispanic slurs, Baumann said.

He is further accused of forcing all three against a rock wall and demanding their cell phones and personal belongings while still spewing slurs, Baumann said. As the incident escalated, the 17-year-old called police on his cell phone, Baumann said.

Giga is accused of then going after the teen, putting him in a headlock, grabbing the cell phone and breaking it into two pieces, Baumann said. Police found the broken phone in bushes nearby.

The 17-year-old was taken to Nyack Hospital for evaluation, police said. The left side of his head was swollen and discolored, Baumann said. His injuries were not considered serious.

Giga of Birch Lane, New City, was charged with one count of second-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree assault, all felonies; three counts of unlawful imprisonment and one count of third-degree criminal mischief, both misdemeanors; and second-degree harassment, a violation.

Giga was being held yesterday in the county jail with bail set at $25,000, pending a hearing Monday in Clarkstown Town Court.

The incident could go before a county grand jury.

Reach Steve Lieberman at or 845-578-2443.


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