A Clifton woman was arrested Wednesday on bias intimidation, assault and other charges after two teenagers wearing hijabs said she harassed them inside a nail salon.
Nancy B. Jones, 59, is charged with fourth-degree bias intimidation, two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault and harassment, according to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Clifton Police Chief Thomas Rinaldi.
Police were called April 30 to the salon in the area of Lakeview Avenue and East 9th Street on a report of an assault. When they arrived, they were met by two teens, ages 13 and 15, who said Jones harassed them and struck one of them.
The teens “reported that while they were in a nail salon, a woman approached them in a harassing and tumultuous manner and told them to go back to their country,” Valdes and Rinaldi said in a joint statement.
“During the incident, the (suspect) struck the 13-year-old victim in the head. Both victims were wearing hijabs,” the prosecutor and police chief said.
After learning a warrant had been issued for her arrest, Jones turned herself in to the Clifton police station about 4 p.m. Wednesday and was arrested on the charges.
Police said she was expected to be released Thursday “with conditions” following a court hearing. The case will then be presented to a Passaic County Grand Jury for an indictment, according to Valdes.
Within minutes of Jones’ arrest, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) posted a press release online that condemned the allegedly bias-motivated assault.
“Physically and verbally attacking two young girls to the point of tears is appalling. We welcome the ongoing police investigation by Clifton officers and hope the matter is taken seriously and justice is done,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said in the post.