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Hate crime charges against LI man in attacks on Hispanic men

September 21, 2021 GMT

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island man was arraigned Monday on hate crime charges after authorities said he targeted three Hispanic men for attacks.

Christopher Cella, 19, of Selden, New York, was arrested after police said he separately picked up two Hispanic men on Friday at sites where day laborers gather and drove them to different locations where he assaulted them. Cella is also accused of picking up another Hispanic man on Saturday who managed to get out of the car.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said the charges against Cella included reckless endangerment and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes.

An email seeking comment was sent to his attorney.

Police accuse Cella of first picking up a 52-year-old man in Farmingville, New York, on Friday and taking him to an abandoned construction site where he attacked him.

Authorities said he then drove to another location where he picked up a 60-year-old man and took him to a condominium complex, where they allege he attacked and choked him before the man was able to escape.

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Police said Cella picked up a 47-year-old man on Saturday and tried to take him somewhere, but the man grew suspicious and got out of the car. Authorities said Cella tried to hit him with the car.

Cella was arrested at his home on Sunday. At his court appearance, he was put on supervised release with GPS monitoring, and was due back in court on Friday.