RYE | Fifteen Muslims on Tuesday won conditional dismissals of charges stemming from an amusement park disturbance that started when women were told they couldn’t wear religious headscarves on some rides.
A Rye Town Court judge told the defendants their cases would be dropped if they stayed out of trouble for two months. Most had been charged only with disorderly conduct, but the charges ranged up to second-degree assault.
All the female defendants wore headscarves.
Some of the defendants said after the court session that they plan to file a civil rights lawsuit against Westchester County, alleging police brutality and racism in the disturbance. The county owns Playland Park in Rye, a national landmark, where the disturbance occurred.
Defense lawyer Lamis Deek said the defendants could have gone to trial and won acquittals, but trials would have been inconvenient because none of them live in Westchester.
Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, declined to comment on why the dismissals were accepted.
About 3,000 Muslims were at Playland on Aug. 30, celebrating the end of Islam’s holy month of fasting, Ramadan. Officials say Playland bans baseball caps, eyeglasses and other headgear on several fast rides.
Kennedy cousin seeks sentence reduction
MIDDLETOWN | Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel on Tuesday again insisted on his innocence in a 1975 killing, as he pleaded with a three-judge panel to reduce his prison sentence of 20 years to life.
Skakel lawyer Hubert Santos, in Middletown Superior Court, argued the sentencing of Skakel after his 2002 murder conviction in the beating death of Martha Moxley was excessive. The two were teenage neighbors in wealthy Greenwich.
Mr. Santos repeated his claim, which has been rejected by other state courts, that Skakel should have been tried in juvenile court, where the maximum sentence for a murder conviction would have been four years.
Skakel, 51, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, wore an orange prison jumpsuit as he spoke to the three judges, who are expected to issue a ruling in about two months. He was handcuffed and his legs were shackled.
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