Bronx News
Feb 14, 2018

BRONX NEWS: Slashing vic no longer states attacker said ‘f–k your country’

The slashing of a Bronx man while he walked with his year-old son is not a hate crime because the dad recanted his statement about the attacker screaming “F— your country,” police sources said Wednesday.

Joseph Key, 24, was arrested Saturday for the Feb. 1 assault on Ociel Herrera on E. 139th St. near Willis Ave. in Mott Haven, but police said the slashing wasn’t fueled by racial hatred.

According to police sources, Key is emotionally disturbed and attacked Herrera, 41, because he thought Herrera was following him.

Key was charged with assault, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and hate crime harassment. He was ordered held on ,000 bail during an arraignment at Bronx Criminal Court Sunday, according to court records.

Police sources said the harassment charges will be dropped at his next court date. The charges of assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child will remain.

Last Thursday, Herrera, who moved to New York from Guerrero, Mexico, in 2009, told The Daily News about his frightening encounter, and maintained he was the victim of a hate crime.

“What he told me is stuck in my brain: ‘F— your country,’” Herrera said. “I saw hate in his eyes.”

After the assault, Herrera said he briefly chased after his attacker, but quickly returned to his son.

Police said they recovered surveillance video that led to Key’s identification.

Herrera claimed he never experienced any violence since moving to New York, but now fears his 1-year-old son may need therapy.

“At night my son wakes up screaming after having nightmares. He dreams that someone is trying to kill me,” Herrera said. “I, myself, am afraid to go out on the street with my son.”

Herrera is not facing any charges for recanting his statements, sources said.

A phone call to Herrera for comment was not returned Wednesday.

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Slashing vic no longer states attacker said ‘f–k your country’

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