2003-08-01 / Front Page

Hateful Assault In Breezy Point

By Brian Magoolaghan
Hateful Assault In Breezy Point

Woman’s Defense Tells

Different Story

By Brian Magoolaghan

The attorney for a Breezy Point woman accused of spouting racial insults and assaulting a young Hispanic girl said his client is the one who was attacked.

"They followed her….they attacked her in a desolate area," said Raphael F. Scotto who is representing Donna Harding, 41, of Breezy Point.

Harding is charged with third degree assault as a hate crime, second degree aggravated harassment, fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and other offenses. The Anti-Bias Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case. Harding faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

The incident reportedly began at about 4:30 p.m. last Saturday when Harding, a 12-year-old girl and Denise Streigold, the girl’s mother, argued over a bathroom stall at the Sugar Bowl, a beachside refreshment and snack shop within the gated community. Harding is accused of saying, during that confrontation, that "niggers" and "spics" do not belong in Breezy Point and that they should stay in Orchard Beach, according to an eyewitness account given to the district attorney. Harding’s attorney disagrees with that account of events.

"How is it that in a place of 500 people the only people who heard this are the three who are complaining?" Scotto said.

About five hours later, the three clashed again, about a block away from the first incident. The criminal complaint filed with the district attorney’s office says the second meeting was by chance. Scotto told The Wave that his client was the target of a planned attack.

Harding is accused of calling the girl and her mother "spics," telling them not to come back to Breezy Point again and striking the girl in the leg with a push-wagon. According to the district attorney, the girl suffered bruising, swelling and substantial pain. She was reportedly taken to Peninsula Hospital Center and later released.

"There was no injury to anybody in this case," Scotto said adding that his client was called "white trash" during the second encounter.

The name of the girl was withheld by authorities because of her age. Streigold could not be reached for comment.

Harding was arrested by detectives from the 100 Precinct and was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Sunday, July 27. Judge Michael D. Aloise released Hard­ing on her own recognizance. Her next court date is August 6.

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