No hate crime charges for man accused in NYC Chinatown stabbing

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Expected hate crime charges were not lodged against the 23-year-old Bensonhurst man accused of randomly attacking an Asian stranger who was walking down a Lower Manhattan street Thursday evening.

But while prosecutors have determined that racial bias can’t be proven in the attack, it remains a heinous crime, according to court papers that emerged from suspect Salman Muflihi’s arraignment early Saturday.

“This case is every New Yorker’s worst nightmare,” Assistant District Attorney Adam Johnson told Judge Anne Swern in Manhattan Supreme Court, “to be attacked by a complete and total stranger with a large knife for no reason at all.”

The victim, who remains in Bellevue Hospital with a punctured liver and other injuries, had been walking on Worth Street around 6:20 p.m. when Muflihi, wearing dark clothes and a mask, grabbed him from behind and plunged an 8-inch knife into his back, court papers allege.

Cops involved in the arrest the night of the attack said Muflihi told them, “I don’t like the way he looked at me.”

An eyewitness told investigators Muflihi said, “I’m sorry” as he ran off, court papers said.

A short time later, Muflihi walked into the nearby District Attorney’s office at One Hogan Place and told security that he had just “stabbed a guy up the block,” and asked where the police were.

He repeated his confession during his arrest proceeding, Johnson told the court, adding that Muflihi said, “if he dies, he dies. He doesn’t give a f—.”

Johnson said the victim may in fact not survive. In addition to the punctured liver, he suffered major internal bleeding. Doctors also removed one of his kidneys and his adrenal gland. He remains in critical condition.

Swern set bail at $500,000.

He was charged with attempted murder in the 2nd Degree, a B violent felony; along with first degree assault, a B felony; second degree assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.

He faces 5 to 25 years in prison. Prosecutors said additional charges could be added as the investigation continues.

Muflihi has a criminal history that includes a guilty plea to third degree assault in 2019, and he has an open misdemeanor assault case from Brooklyn, where he attacked a stranger for no reason in a bodega, court papers said.

Salman Muflihi will not face hate crime charges stemming from a stabbing incident in Manhattan.
Salman Muflihi will not face hate crime charges stemming from a stabbing incident in Manhattan.
Peter Gerber

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