Timothy Caughman (Coff-Man) was murdered four days ago, just a few blocks from Madison Square Garden. The assailant? A known white supremacist who had travelled to New York from Maryland. When he turned himself into police two days later, he told them that he had travelled to the city to, “Kill as many black men as possible.” This morning, the Anti-Defamation League of New York hosted a rally to condemn the murder, and to talk about the intersection of hate crimes and terrorism.
Timothy Caughman was murdered on the corner on 36th and 9th avenue. Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams addressed a crowd gathered across the street, holding up a red knife meant to represent the one used in the murder.
ADAMS 1: And to have a person travel from Maryland to hunt out and stalk a black man. This knife is a knife of racism, but it’s also a knife of terrorism. Hate crime is not enough. When you commit an act that intentionally wants to cause terror in a group of people, that is a clear definition of terror. (0:35)
Condemning the murder as an act of terror was a common refrain from all of the speakers gathered at the event. One reason for that? The sheer number of hate crimes that have been committed recently. They are up 55% from this time last year. Evan Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League also spoke at the event.
BERNSTEIN 1: In the last few months, we have stood together too many times, too many times following hate crimes. If one of us is being targeted, we are all being targeted. (0:11)
HAUPTMAN 4: Bernstein reiterated the need to keep speaking out against these events, and to not treat them like isolated incidents.
BERNSTEIN 2: And we must continue to stand together against this kind of hate, and speak out everytime it happens. Every time–this cannot become the norm. If we don’t stand up here every single time it’s going to become the norm. (0:14)
One of the participants at the rally was Afat Nasher (A-Fat Nash-Ur) from the Council on Islamic Relations She says she is concerned about this increase in hate crimes in the city as well.
NASHER 1: The uptick has been there for quite a while now. And what we’ve seen is at levels of 9/11 and more, unfortunately, and with the hate groups really having felt emboldened these days we’re only anticipating even more and I think this last act of senseless violence sort of really exemplifies what we’re seeing. (0:21)
Mr. Caughman’s murderer said that he chose to come to New York because he wanted to quote, “Make a statement.” But Nasher says that, despite the increasing number of these so-called terrorist actions, her group and others in New York should not be be deterred.
NASHER 2: We are not going to allow terror to grip us. Instead we’re going to allow love to prevail, and that love has to be incorporated into daily action. (0:10)
Timothy Caughman’s murderer was arraigned yesterday but he was not charged with an act of terrorism. For some New Yorkers, whether a murder like this is just a hate crime or also an act of terror will continue to be an important distinction. Max Hauptman Columbia Radio News.