Prosecutors win injunction against NH innkeeper accused of hate crime

Local News

Prosecutors in New Hampshire have been granted a preliminary injunction in their case against a Jackson innkeeper accused of trying to physically remove two guests because she believed they were Muslim.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says Prescilla Protasowicki, whose family runs the Covered Bridge Riverview Lodge, violated the civil rights of a Massachusetts couple, Mohamed Ghallami and Chahrazade Mounaji, in April 2018

According to court documents, the couple and their 8-year-old daughter had booked a room at the lodge in advance, but were unhappy with the accommodations. When Mounaji, who was dressed in a hijab, asked Protasowicki to cancel the reservation and refund the charges, the innkeeper refused and said, “You’re a Muslim. You’re not supposed to be here” and “Muslims kill kids,” prosecutors allege.

At one point, the documents say, Protasowicki came from around the reception desk, grabbed Ghallami by the arm and tried to push him toward the door. She also allegedly asked the couple if they were “commies.”

In July, a Carroll County grand jury indicted Protasowicki on criminal charges of simple assault subject to hate-crime enhancement. The New Hampshire AG’s new Civil Right Unit’s also filed a complaint accusing her of a hate crime.

Protasowicki has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, and has reportedly denied that the altercation with the guests was motivated by religion.

The Mounajis, who are of Moroccan descent, have lived in the US for more than 20 years, according to court documents.

The preliminary junction granted Friday was sought by prosecutors to prevent further violations of the Civil Rights Act.

The court’s order prohibits Protasowicki from “engaging in or threatening physical force or violence, damage to property, or trespass on property against any person …motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.”

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