Photos by Jefferson Siegel
Sherif Rizk, left, and Hatem Farsakh at an appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court on Jan. 18.
A racial epithet led to the horrific beatdown of a Massachusetts man on MacDougal St. last month outside Artichoke Pizza, according to a report in Tuesday’s Daily News.
Kevin McCarron, 24, a former standout hockey player at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, was eating a falafel sandwich from Mamoun’s up the block when the incident erupted. He wound up being bludgeoned with a bat, tire iron and club in the middle of MacDougal St. before a crowd of shocked onlookers.
According to the News, the alleged attackers claim someone in McCarron’s group of friends called them “f—— dirty Arabs.” Some members of the attackers’ group may have been sitting on a car that belonged to someone in McCarron’s group.
“Everything started when they call us f—— Arab,” Hatem Farsakh, 24, told detectives on Jan. 14, according to statements filed at his arraignment this Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
There are reportedly at least five videos of the attack. Four were from businesses on MacDougal St., including Artichoke Pizza, and one was from a cell phone camera — likely the same footage that went viral online, according to the News.
Farsakh and Sherif Rizk, 22, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, gang assault, attempted gang assault and two counts of assault.
Farsakh previously told the News he was just eating a falafel sandwich at Mamoun’s when a fight involving his friends broke out.
Both he and Mahmoud Habib, a co-defendant, claimed that McCarron’s group started the fight after they tried to defuse the tense situation.
“The guys followed us to the next block and they keep on calling us names when we told them, ‘O.K., no problem, keep on going home have a nice night and we don’t want no problems,’ ” Habib wrote.
Farsakh is free on $5,000 bail and Rizk is out on $15,000. Habib, out on $75,000 bail, saw a judge on Jan. 30 and also pleaded not guilty.
The trio each face up to 25 years in prison and are due back in court on April 16.
Three other suspects wanted in connection to the attack are still at large.