Niagara Falls, NY - Niagara Falls Police have arrested a second woman accused of a hate crime against a Pakistani woman.
Investigators say Sheree Ann Sabater, 38, of the Falls was assault 3rd, charged as a hate crime. Police say she was arrested without incident and released on $300 bail.
Two weeks ago, police arrested Antoinette Ivey, 32, from Niagara Falls in connection to the assault.
Police say the attack happened in a parking lot located at 810 Portage Road on July 14, 2011. The unidentified victim told police that Ivey and another woman were harassing her from the van they were riding in as she was walking down the street.
Police say the two women parked the van then attacked her.
The 26-year-old victim was knocked to the ground, punched and kicked numerous times. She told police that Ivey and the other woman made comments about her Pakistani background.
We talked to Niagara Falls Police Captain William Thomson and asked him if hate crime assaults often happen in the City of Niagara Falls.
"We've had a few incidents over the years, but it's really unusual that this occurs," said Thomson. "There's a lot of assaults that go on that may be hate crimes, but the people don't express that during the crime."
As for the crime itself, Thomson says the Department is taking a stand.
"We'd like to say that we're not going to tolerate this type of crime and we're going to do everything that we can to ensure that it doesn't reoccur and that everyone feels safe," said the Captain.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster told WGRZ-TV that even the allegation of a "hate crime" is especially disconcerting, in a city dependent on tourists of every race, creed, and color, to visit from around the world....and feel safe in doing so.
"I think we're particularly sensitive to that...anything that would reflect poorly on the state of harmony and diversity here in Niagara Falls is a bad thing," Dyster said.
However, Dyster also believes the incident was not reflective of the city as a whole or indicative of any widespread or systemic pattern.
"Everything I have heard from our police department, and they've done some research and gone out and talked to people on the street, indicates this was an isolated incident," Dyster told 2 On Your Side.
Pine Avenue businessman Sam Rizek agrees with Dyster.
"I've never heard of any other such incidents, and I've never experienced anything like it ," said Rizek, whose family is of Palestinian heritage and operates several business in the Falls, including stores and hotels.
"Generally speaking , people are very good to each other around here and rarely do you even hear racist comments," Rizek said.
Police say Ivey was arrested a few blocks from the attack. She was arraigned at the Niagara Falls City Court Friday morning. Police are actively searching for the second suspect.
If you have any information on that suspect, you can reach them at 286-4553.