LI Man Indicted on Hate Crime Charges in Ozone Park Incident

A Queens grand jury has indicted a Long Island man on hate crime charges for a July, 2014 incident in which he allegedly called a Sikh man “Osama” and then intentionally rammed his pick-up truck into the victim and dragged his body along an Ozone Park street before fleeing, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Joseph Caleca, 55, was arraigned last Wednesday on a nine-count indictment charging him with one count of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault as a hate crime, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault as a hate crime, one count of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of leaving the scene without reporting. Caleca, who was initially arrested in August 2014, was remanded on continuing bail and his next court date is April 22.

According to the charges, the victim, Sandeep Singh, 29, and three of his friends were standing at the intersection of 101st Avenue and 99th Street just after midnight when a light-colored pick-up being driven by Caleca approached the group and he stated, “Move your [expletive deleted] ass. You’re [expletive deleted] slow, you [expletive deleted] Osama. Go back to your country.”

Caleca then allegedly parked his truck and got out to confront the group. After an exchange of words, according to the charges, Caleca returned to his vehicle and drove head-on into Singh, causing his body to be caught on the vehicle’s undercarriage.  Caleca allegedly dragged Singh along the street until his body dislodged from the vehicle, at which point Caleca fled the scene.

Singh was taken to an area hospital where he received treatment for his injuries, which included surgery for internal bleeding and several staples to his mid-section.

Caleca faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

By Forum Staff


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