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Women charged with hate crime in UWS poster-ripping clash

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Police have made arrests of two women who pulled down “KIDNAPPED” posters on the Upper West Side and then allegedly assaulted a Jewish woman who was filming them.

Mehwish Omer, 26, of the Manhattan Valley section of the Upper West Side, was charged with hate crime/assault and hate crime/criminal mischief.

Her sidekick, Stephanie Gonzalez, 25, of Yonkers was charged with attempted robbery and hate crime/assault.

According to police, on Thurs., Nov. 9, around 9:55 p.m., at the corner of Riverside Drive and W. 82nd Street, a 41-year-old woman spotted Omer and Gonzalez coldly removing Israeli hostages posters from a streetlight pole. She verbally confronted the two younger women while recording them on her cell phone. The two poster rippers then physically assaulted the victim, forcibly ripping off her Star of David from around her neck, police said. They also knocked the victim’s cell phone out of her hand and onto the ground, causing damage to it, before running off.

The victim suffered minor injuries to her face and neck but refused further medical attention at the scene. The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.


  1. Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost November 30, 2023

    I agree that the posters were intended for a good purpose, and I hope all the hostages are freed. I didn’t know that it was illegal to put posters up. The attack on the woman who was filming the poster removal was also unjustified. Ripping her Star of David pendant off her neck was uncalled for. Damaging her cellphone was also uncalled for.

    I remember when posters were put up all over the place after 9/11, in the hopes–usually vain–of finally seeing the missing people alive. Maybe the hostage posters are following in that tradition.

    As people know from my previous comments, I support the Palestinians 100%, and hate the misrepresentations that have appeared in the Sun and elsewhere. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is a chant that has been heard for years, and it means ONLY that Palestine will be free, and in no way is it an attack on a country. I think the interpretation of it as antisemitic, which it certainly is not (and many Jews have chanted it), or unjust to any country is a willful misrepresentation arising from a desire not to look honestly at what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for years.

  2. November 28, 2023

    You are totally misrepresenting my comment and trying to suggest I am heartless for noting that plastering posters on city property is illegal and akin to an infraction like littering. I do not appreciate your highly subjective claims on my mental processes, to which you are not privy. I also challenge your unsubstantiated view that the 2 women charged with assault in this incident had been “coldly” taking down the posters. Were you there? Are you a mind reader? Do you really know the feelings of strangers? Did you speak to them? I don’t think so.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 28, 2023

      Were they doing it “warmly and graciously,” then? How kind of them.

      • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 28, 2023

        You obviously don’t know what these 2 women were feeling and demonstrate an appalling lack of journalistic detachment and fairness.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 27, 2023

      More like some low-level misdemeanor that is rarely enforced.

      • November 27, 2023

        I was personally busted for this twice when I had a job putting them up.

        • Mac Mcgill Mac Mcgill November 28, 2023


        • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 28, 2023

          Maybe they were looking to nail you?

          • Mac Mcgill Mac Mcgill November 28, 2023


  3. Jo Jo November 27, 2023

    Your headline was quite misleading. The woman charged wasn’t charged for ripping down the flyers, but for assault. Please be more clear.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 27, 2023

      We just changed the headline from “incident” — which it was — to “clash,” which gives a better sense of what the arrest was all about, that more happened than just ripping down posters, etc.

  4. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 27, 2023

    It’s not likely the 2 perps were charged for “coldly” ripping down hostage posters, since plastering such material on city property is illegal and falls into the category of littering.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 27, 2023

      Mary, if you honestly think that the “KIDNAPPED” posters and the poor souls that they portray — which are, yes, coldly being ripped down — amount to nothing more than “litter,” as you say, then that’s a real concern.

  5. David Fox David Fox November 27, 2023

    Lock ’em up.

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