Hundreds of parents, community members, and local politicians held a rally in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y. on Wednesday in support of a father who was arrested on assault charges for protecting his 13-year-old son on Sept. 30, the Brooklyn Paper reports.
According to rally attendants, Ting Duo Lei, 52, acted in self-defense against the assailant, 24-year-old Hassan Saab, who showed up at Lei’s home with a baseball bat in search of Lei’s son.
The protestors say Saab had previously assaulted Lei’s son at a basketball court on Sept. 28 after a disagreement with classmates escalated to violence. The son told the police that Saab, an older relative to the classmates, had kicked him in the head, and a friend of Lei’s son also reported that Saab had punched him in the neck and chest, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
Two days later, Saab appeared at Lei’s home in Bensonhurst, looking for Lei’s son. Upon seeing the man, who was carrying a baseball bat, Lei retrieved a shovel and a broom, and the encounter soon became aggressive. Saab allegedly hit Lei on the head with the bat, causing lacerations that required treatment.
Police arrived on scene and arrested Saab on various charges including assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment in relation to the two incidents on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30. Lei was also arrested after Saab alleged that Lei struck him on the arm with the shovel, causing bruising.
Supporters of the Lei family at the rally called for the charges against Lei to be dropped and for the students involved in the basketball court dispute to be expelled for bullying. State Senator Iwen Chu (D) told the crowd that it was clear Lei was acting in self-defense and that her office was working closely with the family in pursuit of justice.
“We will continue to work with the family and stand alongside to support them to make sure we seek justice…and to make sure our children are safe, on and off school grounds,” Chu said, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
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