QUEENS — A man brutally beat two Jewish women he misidentified as "dirty Muslims" at a Forest Hills subway station Wednesday before asking responding officers if he was being arrested because "I'm rich and white."
The 57-year-old victim and her 37-year old daughter were getting off the M train at the 67th Avenue subway station about 2 p.m., when they heard Dimitrios Zias, 40, of Astoria, tell them, “Go back to your f---ing country you dirty Muslims,” police and prosecutors said.
When the daughter asked him to repeat himself, Zias, who police said was highly intoxicated, spat in her face before punching her in the face and body, knocking her to the ground, authorities said.
As she was on the ground, he continued punching her, causing bruising to her right elbow and back, according to the criminal complaint. He then pulled her up from the ground by grabbing her by the hair, prosecutors said.
When her mother tried to intervene, Zias also grabbed her hair while punching her in the face and head with his other hand, according to court documents.
The woman suffered a cut to her lip and bruising to her face, right knee and left ankle, prosecutors said.
When Zias was arrested at the scene, he responded, “I don’t understand why I’m being arrested. Is it because I’m rich and white?” officials said.
He was charged with assault as a hate crime, police said.
In 2015, Zias was busted for taking pictures with his phone under a woman’s skirt at the Uniqlo store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, police said.
In that case, he pleaded guilty to unlawful surveillance and was sentenced to five years probation, authorities said.
Zias's bail was set at $50,000, and he is due back in court Sept. 27.
His attorney was not immediately available for comment.