A 25-year-old Brooklyn man faces a hate crime charge for shouting a racial slur at a Nigerian Catholic priest and threatening him with a baseball bat, officials said Sunday. Rev. Uriroghene Okrokoto, 28, told police a man approached him two blocks from his Marine Park church, the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, on Ave. T and Ford St. on Jan. 13 at 3:45 a.m. Joseph Mattarelliano, wielding a bat, allegedly shouted, “Go back to the projects where you belong!” at the victim, who was not dressed in clerical garb, and called him a “f—–g n—-r,” according to police. Mattarelliano sped away in his car but Okrokoto got the license plate number, cops said. Police arrested Mattarelliano on Thursday and charged him with menacing as hate crime and weapon possession.
The New York Post adds:
Janet Subrizi, a lifelong member of the church who works in its office, said Okrokoto was ordained in June and goes by “Father Melchizedek.” Subrizi said she and another parishioner drove him around the neighborhood when he was first assigned to Good Shepherd, showing him where to catch the subway and local buses. “Knowing him, I think he would pray for the person and not hold any kind of fear or any kind of hurt in his heart against that man,” Subrizi said.